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14 Easy Exercises You Can Do At Your Work Desk

Updated on September 2, 2016

With all the ease and comforts that technological advancements have brought into our lives, there are also a number of side effects caused by them. Deteriorating health conditions being one of the major disadvantages in the list. If you observe the typical work life of an adult, it is not alarming to find them sitting on a desk chair for around 7 to 8 hours. With everything now available at an arms length, employees struggle to get motivated to do any physical activity.

Not only this, a study from 2014 found that continuous sitting in office or home could increase the chances of some cancers by 60%. These statistics are enough to open your eyes to the fact that effective measures for your health need to be observed before it’s too late.

Below are 14 easy exercises that can be completed without even leaving the office, saving you the price of a hefty gym bill!

Leg Extension
Leg Extension | Source

1. Leg Extension

Target Area: Quadriceps

While sitting on your seat, stretch your legs out in front of you one at a time, keeping them parallel to the ground. Now contract and relax your toes, repeat 5-10 times.This exercise is normally done on a leg extension machine at a gym, however this can still be effective done from home or at work. If you have weak quadriceps, this can help strengthen the muscles.

2. Stand Up Sit Down

Target area: Abdominal & Thigh

This is the simplest one, just stand up and sit down repeatedly, without using your hands. Repeat 5-15 times. You can do this several times throughout the day. It is effective against the fats in your abdominal and thigh muscles.

3. Shrugging Shoulders

Target area: Stress

Inhale a deep breath, raise your shoulders high, hold your breath for a while and then drop your shoulders down. Repeat for 1 minute. It’s a simple way to release stress and tension in the back as well as improving breathing capacity. These can also be done anywhere!

4. Neck Rotation

Target Area: Neck

Drop your chin down and leave your head loose. Then raise your chin up and gently rotate your head to the right, back to the centre and then over to the left. It helps by releasing strain and stress from the neck region whilst stretching and strengthening your neck muscles.

5. Book Press

Target area: Triceps

Pick up a heavy book from your desk and hold it tight behind your head. Now stretch your arms to the longest position possible and then bring it back to your neck. Repeat 10 times. This will release stress from your arms, and will also tone the tricep muscles.

Book press exercise
Book press exercise | Source

6. Air Circles

Target Area: Arms

Stand up, extend both your arms out, clench your fists, and rotate them. It should be like making circles in the air. After making ten circles in one direction, reverse the direction of rotation. Air circles activate all three sections of the shoulder muscles and although they look easy, they can be deceiving!

7. Wall Sits

Target Area: Core & Calves

Take a step away from your desk and stand against a wall. Now squat down to an angle of 90 degrees and then stand up. Repeat 10 times. It is a very effective way to build strength in your core, as well as your calves and quads.

8. Hip Marches

Target Area: Core

Lift your foot a few inches in the air while sitting on your seat. Following this, bend your knee 90 degrees. Hold on to this position for a few seconds. Not only will this exercise help tighten your core but also help with balance and co-ordination.

9. Chair Squats

Target Area: Glutes

Position yourself on the edge of your chair and stretch your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to one another. Stand up, then lower yourself down until your rear touches the edge of the chair. Now stand up again and continue. Repeat 10 times or for a minute. This exercise does wonders for your quadriceps, buttocks and hamstring muscles!

Chair Squats
Chair Squats | Source

10. Flapping Arms

Target Area: Biceps/Triceps

Raise both of your arms up in the air above your head and shake your hands. While stretched, bring them down in front of your face, and then raise them back up over your head. Repeat 10-15 times. It helps in strengthening the biceps and triceps of your arms.

11. Mild Pushups

Target Area: Biceps

These can be done almost anywhere but a desk or chair is a preferred choice. Lean on a desk or chair (if it has no wheels!) hold it firmly and push your body off. Hold yourself up for a few seconds, then come back. Repeat 10-15 times. This is a good way of strengthening your arms and biceps!

12. Abdominal Stretch

Target Area: Abdomen

While sitting at the edge of your seat, extend your arms in front of you. Now contract and relax your abdominal muscles, while keeping your back straight. Keep doing this for a minute. It is the best way to get your abdominal muscles in shape whilst sitting down at work!

13. Shoulder Squeeze

Target Area: Posture

Bad posture? Try standing up straight and pretend to hold a squishy ball between your shoulder blades, squeeze your shoulders like you are pressing the ball. Repeat 10 times. This exercise will help strengthen your trapezius muscles and also help with posture if you often hunch.

14. Walk

Target Area: Everywhere

How many times a day do you email the person you can see directly in front of you? Instead of emailing them back, get up from your desk and take a walk to see them. The more you are up from your desk then the more you are working your body!


Date of Preparation: July 2016


Adverse events should be reported. Reporting forms and information can be found at Adverse events should also be reported to Meda's Medical Information line on 01748 828810


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