Best Ways to Exercise at your Desk

Best Ways to Exercise at your Desk

Deskera Content Team
Deskera Content Team
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Do you know around 28% of Americans aged 6 and older are inactive?

Most people spend 8-9 hours a day sitting at their desks in offices. This not only leads to poor posture and inactivity but also gives rise to health complications and diseases. According to research, prolonged sitting can lead to diseases like diabetes and even increase the chances of death! What can you do to avoid such conditions? Well, incorporating exercise in your daily routine, right at your desk, can break up the sedentary routine and make you more active. It can improve circulation, boost metabolism, and enhance your productivity at work.

Best Ways to Work Out at your Desk

Let’s take a look at some of the exercises that you can perform at your desk that can help to stay more active and improve your overall health:

Triceps dips

For this, you would require a stationary chair instead of a wheeled chair. Move to the front of the chair with both hands moving forward. You need to place your palms flat on the chair, and then bend your elbows straight back. Lower yourself down while putting your upper arms parallel to the ground, and your back close to the chair. Then you need to straighten your arms to rise back to start. Repeat the same for at least 10 reps.

Head nods Series

Sitting at a desk for a prolonged period can strain the neck muscles. To avoid this strain, you can opt for the head nod series. This exercise will help to strengthen your neck muscles in order to reduce stress and pain. To perform this series, you need to bring your chin to your chest and hold it for a full inhale and exhale. Once this is done, you need to lift your head up towards the ceiling, then hold it again for a full breath. Make sure you don’t over-stretch. To continue this series, you need to start with your head back in its neutral position and tilt your right ear down towards your right shoulder, and then hold for one breath. You need to bring your head back to neutral, and repeat for the left shoulder. For the next part of the series, you need to bring your head back to neutral and then rotate it in small circles. You need to begin clockwise and then rotate anti-clockwise.

Shoulder Rolls and shrugs

Slouching in a chair for extended periods can affect your posture and make your shoulders tight. To solve this problem, you can opt for shoulder rolls and shrugs. You need to keep your hands neutral by your side, and roll your shoulders forward and then backward. Now you need to bring your shoulders to the original position and shrug them towards the ear. Then, you need to drop the shoulders down, while taking a big breath. Repeat the same at least 3 times.

Oblique twists

You can perform oblique twists by sitting on a rotating chair with your hands holding the edge of your desk. Then, you need to spin yourself to one side using your hands and then switch to another side. Repeat this for at least 10 reps on each side. In case you don’t have a rotating chair, then you need to bend your arms up in front of you and turn your body to the right and then left. Ensure movement from the core.

Seated Leg extension

Seated leg extensions are one of the most common exercises that you can do while sitting at your desk. All you need to do is to sit tall with your feet flat on the floor. Now you need to lift one leg until it’s parallel with the floor and then straighten it out by squeezing the muscle on the front of your upper thigh. Then hold for some time and then lower back to the starting position. Repeat this 10 times on each side.

Desk Push-ups

Push-ups help to tone the chest, arms, and core, and improve upper-body strength. To do desk push-ups, you need to place your hands at the edge of the desk and stand at least one yard away from your desk, facing toward it. Keep your feet together and lean forward bringing your chest downwards towards the desk. Then you need to exhale and push back upwards. Repeat this 20 times.

Wrist rotations

If your job requires you to write or type for prolonged periods of time, then it can result in Carpal Tunnel. Wrist rotations can help to prevent such problems. You need to hold your arms out in front of you and rotate your wrists. Perform these rotations 10 times clockwise and 10 times anti-clockwise.

Ankle rotations

Ankle rotations can help to improve your blood circulation and prevent blood clots. For this, you need to rotate your ankles, first clockwise and then anti-clockwise.

Leg Lifts

Sit straight on your chair with good posture. While sitting, keep one foot on the floor and raise the other leg straight out so it is parallel with the floor. Then, hold on for five seconds and repeat with another leg. Repeat it 10 times.

Seated Knee to chest

To perform this exercise, you need to sit on a chair with your legs straight out. Now you need to hold the bottom of your chair for support and pull your knees towards your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat this 10 times.

Benefits of exercising at your desk

Sitting for extended periods at your desk can cause some serious health complications. This will not only impact your overall health but also affect productivity at work. According to research, it has been found that:

  • 60% of employees feel that their time management skills, mental performance, and ability to meet deadlines improved due to exercising
  • 27% of employees said that they could deal with stress in a better way when they exercised
  • 41% of employees feel more motivated to work when they exercise

When you exercise, it allows you to take breaks in between, which keeps you fresh and improves productivity at work. Let’s take a look at some more benefits of exercising at work:

Helps to manage stress

Heavy workloads, uncomfortable work conditions, or problems with colleagues can lead to stress at work. This is where exercising at your desk can help you. When you exercise, you release cortisol which can further help in reducing workplace stress. Not only this, there are long-term benefits of exercising as well. It can help to strengthen physiological resistance to stress.

Enhances work performance

Exercising during the workday can help to improve focus, concentration, and decision-making ability, thus allowing you to improve productivity at work and performance. When you exercise, you will get to experience increased and sustained energy throughout the day.

Reduces sedentary time

Exercising during work can help to lower sedentary time. You must have heard the phrase ‘sitting is the new smoking’. Well, this is because prolonged sitting can lead to poor health. That is why it is important to take regular breaks while doing your work. You can even walk for a short while after every 30 minutes or perform sitting exercises while at your desk. This way you will remain more active.

Improves mental health and Reduces the risk of cognitive decline

Along with improving physical health, exercising can help to enhance mental health as well. It helps to release feel-good hormones such as dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. According to research, it has been found that exercising can help to relieve the symptoms of depression.

Cognitive decline has become common in most people these days. However, regular exercising can help to improve memory, attention span, and processing speed. It can help to improve the size of the hippocampus in the brain, the part responsible for learning and memory.

Better sleep

Most people don’t get quality sleep at night due to excessive intake of caffeine or stress. Exercising throughout the day can help to reduce stress and improve sleep quality at night. This way you will perform better at work.

Less absenteeism

Long-term absences are caused due to stress, acute medical conditions, back pain, and a lot more. Exercising at work can help to improve your immunity which in turn will lead to lesser sick days in the workplace. This will help to reduce both physical and mental health issues at work.


Exercising at the desk has a plethora of health benefits. That is why it is advisable to inculcate this practice in your daily routine so that you can remain more active and improve productivity at work.

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Key Takeaways

  • Performing exercises at the desk can help to break up the sedentary routine, improve circulation, and enhance productivity at work
  • There are some exercises that you can perform at your desk
  • Triceps Dips, head nod series, shoulder rolls and shrugs, oblique twists, seated leg extension, and desk push-ups, are some of the exercises that you can perform at your desk
  • You can even do wrist rotations, ankle rotations, leg lifts, and seated knee to chest exercises at your desk
  • There are various benefits of exercising at your desk
  • Exercising regularly can help to keep stress at bay
  • It can help to improve focus, concentration, and decision-making ability, thus allowing you to improve productivity at work and performance
  • Exercising during work can help to lower sedentary time
  • It helps to improve mental health and reduces the risk of cognitive decline
  • Exercising regularly helps to improve the sleep quality
  • Exercising at work can help to improve your immunity which in turn will reduce absenteeism at the workplace
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