5 Easy Desk Exercises: How to Keep In Shape While Working

Most of us are used to sitting the whole time, as this is often required in our day-to-day activities at work. You may not have noticed it, but it becomes a habit not to get up as often as we should. 

Since a lot of activities and business transactions have been automated, such as emailing and customer service jobs, workers no longer spend time walking or even standing. Such a habit can be risky because it affects overall health and work performance. That is why it is essential to learn some easy desk exercises to keep us active at work.

Why Do We Need to Keep Moving?

Did you know that being inactive will result in making your energy levels not to function correctly? This will make your body challenging to move as you may feel sluggish for an extended period.

Regular exercise is likely to reduce the risk of developing dreaded diseases like colon cancer, breast, and prostate cancer. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, some studies report regular exercise reduces the risk of colon cancer by 50 percent and breast cancer in both pre and postmenopausal women by 30 percent. 

By doing regular exercise such as walking, it might reduce the risk of memory loss. Brisk exercise for 30 minutes, for instance, has been proven as an effective antidepressant to treat mild to moderate depression.

We know for a fact that with fast-paced environments, greater ambition, and pressure to perform in all aspects, we tend to forget the importance of exercise. Modern technology also contributes to this since it makes it easier for us to communicate and find information. 

This is because everything is almost available at our fingertips. People are expected to be always available and accessible 24 hours a day. This is another factor that proves that exercise is commonly taken for granted as part of our daily activity.

Many work for more than 8 hours a day. This is true for people who cannot leave their desks due to deadlines. There are simple steps to keep us moving and regain our energy while we are at our office. 

Common Desk Exercises You Can Do at Work

Here are some simple desk exercises that will undoubtedly improve our strength and mood in the workplace. 


Desk Dips 

While in a seated position, move on the edge of the desk with your palms at your hips’ side. You have to ensure that your feet are flat on the floor before bending your elbows and lowering your body. Aim until your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and repeat for five minutes.


Chair Squat

Use a stable chair, rest on the edge of the seat, and slowly get up with your arms at your side. Keep your chest raised as much as you can. Lower your buttocks until you return to the same seated position. Repeat for a minute and challenge yourself to do it every 30 seconds.


Seated Arm Circles

While in a sitting position, stretch your arms out to your sides and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Face your palms down and draw small circles up in the air with your arms. Repeat for 20 - 30 times. Then, repeat with your palms facing up toward the ceiling.


Arm Curls

Hold a water bottle or any object from the office with a similar weight. Slowly bend them upwards and repeat for three sets of 15 each arm.


Seated Torso Twist

While sitting at your desk, place your right hand over your left knee while looking over your left shoulder. Hold the pose for 25 seconds and repeat the action on the opposite side.

There are various benefits that you can acquire doing these simple desk exercises, including burning extra calories. According to Livestrong.com, the average 150-pound person burns around 68 calories per hour.

Here are some of the proven claims that a simple desk exercise is good for health.

Reduction of Stress Level

Stress is inevitable; thus, we must know how to handle it properly. Otherwise, it might trigger disease-causing stress such as diabetes, high blood, cancer, and other diseases related to stress. 

Doing some simple desk exercises throughout your workday is a great way to keep stress and anxiety away. It may not be similar to your gym routine or as strenuous as your workout, but it can reduce stress and alleviate the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

Increase in Productivity & Focus

For some people doing desk exercises at work can be quite distracting. But, did you know that it can increase the blood flow from your brain, which can make you feel more energized and alert? In return, you will become more productive at work.

Decrease Restless Energy

While some of us are focused at work, we might not notice that we might not be able to keep up. This can result in a loss of concentration. Having an outlet such as doing desk exercises can help release restless energy. It will be easier for us to pay attention and promote better focus.

Better Sleep

We all know the effects of physical activity in our body. It will not only make our bodies stronger, but it will also improve the quality of our sleep. Just like some of the exercises that we do at the gym, these simple steps for desk exercise can help us sleep better.

According to Veryfit.com, there are some ways that you can still exercise while working at your desk. Taking the stairs instead of using the elevator is an example. 

Another way is parking away from the office, so you will be able to walk to get to your car. Using a typical office chair can’t be enough; sitting on an exercise ball will help. This position will strengthen your abs and back; you'll work on developing your posture.

It could be helpful to set up your alarm to remind you that you need to stand up, stretch, and move around. By swinging your arms or taking a deep breath, you'll feel more alert. 

Making use of a pedometer or other gadgets to monitor your activity and keep track of how many steps you take is also a good practice. Aiming for a 5000 to 10000 steps a day is recommended.

You can also deliver documents or messages to your co-workers, skip the idea of handing it over to your assistant to deliver. Eliminate sending an SMS or email if you can. Walking around the park near your office or visiting a local mall during your office hour is an excellent way to keep moving. 


These desk exercises are not only limited to your desk; standing while working can also contribute to your productivity and can eliminate restlessness, especially if you have a lot of work to do and feel glued to your chair. 

However, the good news is that you don’t have to feel stuck sitting at your desk all the time. There are sit-stand desks available on the market that we can make use of while in the office. 

People can definitely benefit from regular movement while working; before anything else, choose the right desk exercise for you and make sure that you are consistent and stick with it. One of the best things that you can do for yourself especially when you have an office job, is to make sure that you are not just sitting but also standing. Remember, neither sitting too much or standing too much are healthy. The key is to balance the two as much as possible. 

So, if you have been sitting for more than one hour, try to stand for ten or 20 minutes. After standing for a while, we suggest doing a few exercises from this article. The idea is to be comfortable while you’re working and to stay healthy at the same time.