Sit Down for Fitness: An Exercise Routine You Can Do at Your Desk

Exercise routine

It is common knowledge that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to serious health issues, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and can even contribute to anxiety and depression. Yet a large portion of American employees spend hours upon hours sitting at their desks without taking regular breaks for physical activity or having a fixed exercise routine.

The American Heart Association recommends at least five half-hour sessions of moderate aerobic exercise every week. Some individuals have no problem accomplishing this goal: they have a consistent exercise routine — doing yoga in the morning or hitting the gym after work. However, many people struggle to achieve their “work-week 30” of exercise due to work and their home life. Between a full-time career and a full-time family or other personal responsibilities, when is the modern American supposed to find time to exercise properly? Luckily, tracking your activity using a wearable device and your wellness portal is easily accomplished.

Luckily, there are dozens of exercises that can be accomplished right there at your desk. Most of them require only a few minutes of time and no equipment. So the next time you feel your back starting to ache and your fingers starting to cramp up, click Save and take a few minutes to squeeze in some exercise with this routine tailored specifically to the desk-bound:

Warm Up (5 minutes)

Seated Spinal Twist: Sit sideways in your chair, placing your feet flat on the ground. Grasp the back of the chair and use your arms to twist your body toward the back of the chair. Hold for eight to ten breaths, then face the opposite direction and repeat for the other side. Targets back pain that occurs after sitting for long periods of time.

Eagle Arms: Sit up straight and reach both arms out in front of you. Bend the left arm upward at the elbow while wrapping the right arm underneath and around it until your palms can touch. In other words, twist your arms together. Your hands should end up in front of your face. Turn your head slowly to the left, then the right, several times. Repeat with right arm. Targets the upper back, shoulders and neck, which can become sore after a long day of sitting and typing.

Chest Opener: Draw your arms upward behind your back and interlace your fingers, keeping your arms straight. Place your forearms on the back of the chair and slowly lower your chin to your chest. Hold for eight to ten breaths. Targets a tight chest and sore shoulders.

Thread the Needle: Sit up straight in your chair and cross your left leg onto your right, so that the left ankle is placed just above the right knee. Keeping your right foot flat on the ground, reach your left arm through the space and grasp the back of your right thigh. With the support of your right hand as well, slowly lift your right leg upward until you feel a stretch in your left hip. Hold for eight to ten breaths, then repeat on the other side. Targets hip pain that can occur after sitting for long periods of time.

Exercise (10-15 minutes)

Jog in Place: Most people are already familiar with this one. Stand up at your desk and jog in place for forty-five seconds. For an added challenge, bring your knees up as high as you can. Rest for ten to fifteen seconds before beginning again. Repeat three to five times.

Push-ups: Getting down on your office floor is optional. If you would rather not, then use the edge of your desk or a sturdy wall. Do three sets of ten, and remember to use good form to avoid elbow injury.

Tricep Dips: Stand facing away from your desk. Firmly grasp the edge of the desk behind you with both hands about shoulder-width apart. Straighten your arms and place your feet about two feet away from the desk; then bend your elbows, lowering your body straight down and then back up. Do three sets of ten.

Jump an Invisible Rope: Again, this one is fairly self-explanatory. Pretend that you are grasping a jump rope in your hands and go through the arm and jumping movements. Switch off between feet for several hops at a time for an added challenge. Continue for forty-five seconds, then rest for ten to fifteen seconds. Repeat three to five times.

In as little as fifteen to twenty minutes, this desk exercise routine will loosen up your limbs and get your blood flowing. To stave off injury and illness caused by a sedentary lifestyle, perform this exercise routine – or any other desk-appropriate exercises – at least once a day while at work (or repeat it twice to fulfill your daily thirty minutes). Considering the numerous health conditions caused by a full-time desk job, keeping your body moving while at work is an important part of staying fit and healthy.