We tend to be naturally busy and run off our feet with the number of chores and things we have to do. In having to balance our home, personal and social lives as well as our jobs, exercise tends to get swept under the rug. In fact, the majority of people spend a lot of their time looking at a screen all day, a big chunk of that is when they are working.
You don’t need a gym membership to exercise; you can always exercise at home, outside or even in your office while sitting at your desk. Here are some easy exercises you can do at your desk.
If you don’t want your butt to lose firmness it is from inactivity and sitting on it all day at your desk, then clench it for 10 second intervals. You should do at least 8 reps of 5 sets each. The beauty of this exercise is that no one will actually be able to tell you are doing this. It does not require a big motion and is not obvious movement; you can do this at any time during your work day and even in meetings.
2. Ankle Rotations
This may seem remedial and like it won’t do anything to benefit your body but it actually will. By rotating your ankles in circles to the left for 8 reps of 5 sets each and then repeating this to the right, you are strengthening your ankles, which is actually a very big deal. No one wants a sprained ankle. This exercise will help to reduce the risk of sprains and will provide you with stronger ankles. Once again, no one will be able to tell that you are doing this exercise.
3. Calf Muscle Toning
Raise your legs until you’re on the tips of your toes while remaining seated, and hold your legs and feet like that for 10 seconds; repeat this 8 times. The point of this is to keep your calves toned and firm so that they don’t turn mushy from you sitting and working all day. When doing this exercise, you should feel a burn. It is also almost undetectable by others.
4. Rotating Waist
This stretch is noticeable but is something I recommend. It will strengthen your core and stretch out your back, which is beneficial because when you're sitting at a desk you tend to have bad posture that can harm your back and make it sore.
In order to do this exercise, rotate your body as far to the right, but only twist by using your obliques; keep your hips square in your chair. During the twist, grab onto the right armrest and deepen the stretch. Then, do this for the left side of your body; it is best to hold this for 5-8 seconds and to do 5 sets on each side.
5. Arm Circles
This exercise is also very noticeable, but by doing this, you will feel refreshed due to the nice stretch; you will also work your shoulders and improve your posture. All you have to do is raise your arms to the sides, and rotate them forwards and backwards. It is recommended to do 2-3 sets of 20 reps for each direction.
6. Seated Press Up
This works your triceps and relieves spinal compression, which can form from sitting at a desk all day. All you have to do is sit on the edge of your chair, have your feet firmly on the ground and your hands gripping your arm rests. Then, you simply push yourself up, so you are no longer seated, but your feet are still on the ground, and then bring yourself back down. You should do 4 sets of 5-10 reps.
7. Oblique Twist
This one may be weird to do in the office, but it is very effective. For this exercise, sit in your chair and cross your right elbow (keep your hips square in your chair) to your left knee; hold it there for 2 seconds, then do the same but with your left elbow and right knee. You should do 3 sets of 10 reps per side for a tighter core and leaner obliques.
8. Leg Extensions
This beauty of an exercise will work your hips and thighs. All you have to do is sit on the edge of your chair, extend your legs out straight and flex your feet so that they are vertical. It is recommended to hold this position for 15-20 seconds and to do 10 reps of 3 sets each. The great part about this exercise is that when you sit straight, you can also clench your stomach and then you’ll feel the resistance on your core, which means you will also be tightening and strengthening your core.
Exercise should not be swept under the rug as it is important for our bodies to stay healthy. Even if you have to do exercises at your desk, it is better than nothing, and you can always add in different stretches or exercises that suit your needs.
The benefit to doing these exercises at your desk is that it will also get your blood pumping and your endorphins going, which will make you more productive, and you’ll be in a better mood. Lastly, you can make healthier choices at work to help you be more fit away from your desk: you can eat healthily, walk around the office to talk to people instead of emailing and take the stairs. If you can recommend any more exercises you can do at your desk, feel free to share!