The CDC recommends getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, with at least 2 days of strengthening exercises.1 However, it can be tough to find the free time. Here are a few simple exercises you can do sitting or standing at your desk each day to help you achieve your weekly physical activity goals. It all counts!
Calf raises: While standing, rise onto your toes, hold for a beat, then lower back onto your heels. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
Leg raises: Sitting in your chair, raise your right leg until your hamstring is not touching the chair. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, then do the same thing on the left leg. Repeat 2 or 3 times per leg.
Torso twists: While sitting with both feet flat on the ground place one hand on the back of the chair. Twist your torso in the direction of that hand and hold for 10 to 20 seconds, then repeat in the opposite direction. Repeat 2 or 3 times each direction.
Overhead reach: Raise one arm above your head and lean to the opposite side. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Repeat sequence 2 or 3 times.
Glute squeezes: Sitting in your chair, squeeze your glutes (your butt muscles) together. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, then release. Repeat several times.
Seated shoulder press: Either using your body weight or holding a weighted object (e.g., water bottle), raise your right arm and bend it to a 90-degree angle so your hand is up but elbow is even with your shoulder. Then, push your hand up until your arm is fully extended, hold for a beat, then release. Repeat 10 to 15 times on each arm.
1. CDC website. Physical activity for different groups. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/age-chart.html. Accessed 27 Jul 2021.
2. Daniel Yetman. 30 office exercises to try right now. Healthline website. 4 Jan 2021. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness/office-exercises. Accessed 27 Jul 2021.
3. Healthline website. Stretches to do at work everyday. Updated 5 May 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/deskercise#get-moving. Accessed 27 Jul 2021.