We know many of you, like us, have made health and wellness one of your major goals this year. We have made use of our food + fitness agendas (you can get one for yourself HERE!), and have made a point to try and pre-schedule our workouts into our time blocks for the day, but sometimes we find it really difficult to get it all in. Many of our days, like many of you, are spent at our desk in front of the computer screen. We find our bodies’ feeling achy and bit sluggish. We started working a bit of movement and exercise into our workday to help with this, came up with 7 desk exercises we have found you can do right at the office, to mix a little movement in your work routine.
7 Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk:
Seated Cat and Cow:
You may be familiar with cat and cow from your yoga classes. Did you know it is one of the best moves you can do for low back pain? Perfect for when you spend much of your day seated at a desk. You might be thinking okay, but I’m not about to get on all fours and perform this in the middle of the office, well luckily you don’t have to. You can do a modification right in your chair.
You simply follow these steps:
- Sit at the edge of your chair with feet flat on the floor.
- Place hands on knees and inhale, while lifting chest and sticking hips out behind you. (Invision putting a curve in your spine.)
- Lift your gaze, open chest, and gently squeeze shoulder blades together. (This is your cow.)
- Now, on an exhale, round your chest, scoop in your belly (belly button to spine), and curl tailbone under as you drop head toward chest. (This is your cat.)
Repeat this move for 10 cycles, and trust us you’ll notice an instant difference in how your low back feels. It can help you really get through that 3 pm hump too.
PHOTO: Brit + Co
This move helps you detox and release tension in the upper body. It will take you less than a minute to complete too.
To perform this twist you:
- Cross one leg over the other
- Then place your opposite elbow on your top thigh, right behind the knee (Key: never put it directly on your knee, this could cause an injury).
- Take a deep breath and sit up nice and tall.
- Then slowly twist your back and look over your shoulder as you exhale.
- Hold this for 10- 15 seconds.
- Then repeat on opposite side.
Stretching is of course, so so important when you spend much of your day seated, but we definitely want to work a little bit of strength training in too. Chair dips, like regular dips, target your triceps (the outer muscles in your arms).
To complete chair dips you simply follow these steps:
- Sit on edge of your chair and place hands on either side of the seat so that your fingers can wrap around the edges.
- Lift your bottom off of the seat and walk feet 2 to 3 steps out, so your knees remain bent and butt is about 6 inches from the seat.
- Engage core and lower by bending elbows and keeping arms close to your torso (avoid making elbow wings at your sides).
- Straighten arms to return to start.
Do 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps. Over time you’ll notice your arm muscles feeling stronger and more toned.
Seated Leg Lifts:
This exercise works those hard to target lower abdominal muscles, and who doesn’t want to sneak a little extra ab work into their day?
To do the leg lifts you:
- Hold the sides of your chair (you’ll want to lock your chair if it is on wheels) with your knees together in front of you, resting on your toes.
- Straighten one leg completely to form a right angle with your upper body, and be sure to point the toe.
- Keep your abs tight (belly button to spine) as you lift the leg an inch.
- Lower your leg an inch (up an inch down an inch, just like you hear barre instructors say).
Complete 15 to 20 lifts then move on to the other side.
Tone your calves and legs with some simple toe raises with the support of your office chair.
For toe raises you simply:
- Stand behind chair and place both hands lightly on its back.
- Press your shoulders down, engage core, and rise onto balls of your feet.
- Squeeze your bottom and legs as you hold at the top for 3 to 5 seconds.
Complete 3 sets of 15 to 20.
Wall sit exercises are great for sculpting the thighs, hips, calves, and lower abs. They are also easy on your knees and back, and you can do them almost anywhere. We are betting your office has a free wall.
To do a wall sit simply:
- Slide your back down a wall until your hips are at the same level as your knees
- Make sure your knees are at a 90-degree angle
Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute.
PHOTO: Brit + Co
The Finger Lace Stretch:
We are finishing off with a good stretch that helps prevent carpal tunnel and release shoulder tension, perfect for people who spend long stretches of time seated at a computer typing.
To complete this stretch you:
- Plant your feet squarely on the ground while you sit up straight in your chair.
- As you extend your arms in front of you, interlace your fingers and turn your hands so that the backs face you.
- Extend your arms fully.
Hold this move for 30 seconds then bring your arms overhead.