/ 9 min

25 Ways to “Deskercise” While You’re at the Office

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By: KURU Footwear

In a world where many of us spend the majority of our workday seated, finding ways to incorporate physical activity into our routine has never been more crucial. Prolonged sitting can lead to a variety of health issues, but with deskercises—simple exercises designed to be done at your desk—you can combat the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle without ever leaving your office.

From improving posture and flexibility to increasing muscle strength and circulation, deskercises offer a practical solution to stay active and maintain health. Below, we explore 25 different deskercises, from chair squats to seated leg lifts, each carefully crafted to target key areas of the body most affected by extended periods of sitting. By integrating these exercises into your daily routine, you can make significant strides towards a healthier, more vibrant self—even within the confines of the office.

Key Takeaways

  • Regularly performing deskercises can improve posture, increase flexibility, and strengthen muscles, combating the adverse effects of prolonged sitting.
  • Beyond the physical benefits, incorporating movement into your workday can also improve focus, reduce stress, and enhance productivity, contributing to better mental health.
  • Deskercises are designed to be simple, effective, and require minimal space, making it easy to integrate physical activity into even the busiest of schedules without the need for special equipment or significant time investment.

Deskercise 1: Chair Squats

Stand in front of your chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body toward the chair as if you’re about to sit, keeping your weight on your heels and your back straight. Stop just before you touch the seat, then stand back up. Aim for 3 sets of 15-20 squats. This exercise targets your glutes, thighs, and core, promoting lower body strength and stability. Ensure your knees don’t extend past your toes to maintain proper form and prevent injury.

Deskercise 2: Desk Push-Ups

Face your desk and place your hands on the edge, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet back to form a straight line from your head to your heels. Lower your chest to the desk, keeping your elbows close to your body, then push back up to the starting position. Perform 2-3 sets of 10-15 push-ups. This variation of the traditional push-up builds strength in your chest, shoulders, and triceps, and can be easily adjusted for difficulty by altering your feet’s distance from the desk.

Deskercise 3: Seated Leg Lifts

Sit up straight in your chair and extend one leg out in front of you. Hold it in place for 5 seconds, then slowly lower it back down without touching the floor. Repeat 15 times, then switch to the other leg. For an added challenge, perform the lift with both legs simultaneously. This exercise strengthens your thigh muscles and engages your core, improving lower body strength and stability while seated.

Deskercise 4: Calf Raises

Stand up straight and slowly raise your heels until you’re standing on your toes. Hold this position for a second, then slowly lower back down. Perform 3 sets of 20-30 raises to strengthen the calf muscles, which can help improve balance and ankle stability. For added intensity, try holding onto a filled water bottle or a book for added weight.

Deskercise 5: Shoulder Shrugs

Lift your shoulders up towards your ears as high as possible, hold for 5 seconds, and then gently lower them back down. Repeat for 3 sets of 15-20 shrugs. This exercise helps relieve tension and tightness in the neck and shoulders, areas that often become stiff during prolonged periods of sitting. Focus on smooth, controlled movements to maximize the stretch in your upper trapezius muscles.

Deskercise 6: Chair Dips

Sit on the edge of your chair and place your hands on either side of your hips. Move your hips forward off the chair, with your feet flat on the floor. Lower your body by bending your elbows, then press back up to the starting position. Complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 dips. This exercise targets the triceps and can also engage your core, improving upper body strength.

Deskercise 7: Wrist Stretches

Extend your arm forward with the palm down. With your other hand, gently press down on the fingers of the extended hand to stretch the wrist and forearm. After holding for 15-20 seconds, switch to pressing the fingers upwards for an opposite stretch. Repeat on both wrists. These stretches can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and relieve tension from typing.

Deskercise 8: Seated Spinal Twist

While seated, place your right hand on your left knee and gently twist your torso to the left, looking over your left shoulder. Hold for 15-20 seconds, feeling a stretch in your spine and shoulders, then switch sides. This movement helps to increase spinal mobility and can relieve back discomfort associated with sitting for long periods.

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Deskercise 9: Desk Plank

Place your hands on your desk, walk your feet back, and align your body in a straight plank position. Engage your core and hold for 15-30 seconds, ensuring your body remains in a straight line from head to heels. Perform 2-3 sets. This exercise strengthens the core, shoulders, and chest, and can improve posture and reduce back pain.

Deskercise 10: Neck Rolls

Gently lower your chin to your chest, then slowly roll your head to one side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder. Continue rolling your head back and then to the other side, completing a full circle. Perform 5-10 slow rolls in each direction. This exercise helps to relieve neck stiffness and improve flexibility.

Deskercise 11: Ankle Circles

Lift one foot off the ground and rotate the ankle clockwise for 10 circles, then counterclockwise for 10 circles. Switch feet and repeat. This improves ankle mobility and circulation, which is especially beneficial for individuals who sit for extended periods and may experience reduced blood flow to the lower extremities.

Deskercise 12: Side Stretches

Reach one arm overhead and lean to the opposite side, keeping your hips and shoulders facing forward. Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds, then switch sides. Perform 2-3 sets. This stretch targets the obliques and the lateral muscles of the torso, promoting flexibility and helping to alleviate side and back tension.

Deskercise 13: Toe Touches

Stand up and gently bend forward from your hips, reaching towards your toes. Keep your knees slightly bent to avoid strain. Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds to lengthen the hamstrings and lower back. This stretch can help alleviate tightness in the back and legs associated with prolonged sitting.

Deskercise 14: Seated Marching

While seated, march your legs up and down in place, lifting your knees as high as comfortable. Continue for 30-60 seconds to get your heart rate up and stimulate circulation. This light cardiovascular exercise can be a quick way to reenergize during a long day at the desk.

Deskercise 15: Arm Circles

Extend your arms to the sides at shoulder height and perform small circles, gradually increasing to larger circles. Do 10-15 circles in each direction to warm up your shoulder joints, improve mobility, and reduce tension in the upper body.

Deskercise 16: Seated Cat-Cow Stretch

Sit with your feet flat on the floor and place your hands on your knees. For the ‘cow’ stretch, arch your back and look up, pushing your chest forward. For the ‘cat’ stretch, round your back and tuck your chin to your chest. Alternate between these positions for 10-15 cycles to improve spine flexibility and relieve tension in the back and neck.

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Deskercise 17: Desk Chair Swivel

Sitting in a swivel chair, lift your feet off the ground and use your core to swivel the chair from side to side. This fun exercise engages your abdominal muscles and can be done for 30-60 seconds or as long as it remains comfortable.

Deskercise 18: Seated Hip Stretch

While seated, cross one leg over the other so that your ankle rests on the opposite knee. Gently lean forward, keeping your back straight, until you feel a stretch in your hip and glute. Hold for 15-20 seconds, then switch legs. This stretch can help alleviate tightness in the hips and buttocks, which is common in individuals who sit for long periods.

Deskercise 19: Wall Sits

Lean against a wall and slide down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, creating a 90-degree angle at your knees. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds to strengthen the quadriceps, glutes, and calves. This exercise can improve lower body strength and endurance.

Deskercise 20: Seated Forward Bend

Sit at the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the ground. Bend forward from your hips, reaching towards the floor. Allow your upper body to hang loosely, and hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds. This forward bend can help relieve tension in the back and neck and stretch the spine.

Deskercise 21: Standing Quad Stretch

Stand and hold onto your desk or a chair for balance. Bend one knee and grab your ankle, pulling it towards your glutes while keeping your knees together and your pelvis neutral. Hold for 15-20 seconds, then switch legs. This stretch targets the quadriceps and can help improve flexibility in the front of the thigh.

Deskercise 22: Hand Clench

Open your hands wide, then clench them into fists. Hold the clench for 5 seconds, then release, spreading your fingers as wide as possible. Repeat 10-15 times to improve hand strength and flexibility, and to reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries from typing or mouse use.

Deskercise 23: Oblique Twists

Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head or cross them over your chest. Twist your torso to the right, then to the left, engaging your oblique muscles with each twist. Perform 2-3 sets of 15-20 twists. This exercise can help tone the abdominal muscles and improve core strength and stability.

Deskercise 24: Leg Extensions

While seated, extend one leg at a time, holding it straight out for 2 seconds at the top of the movement. Slowly lower it back down without touching the floor and repeat for 15 reps per leg. For added resistance, loop a purse or small bag over your ankle. This exercise strengthens the quadriceps and improves leg circulation.

Deskercise 25: Upper Body Stretch

Interlace your fingers and stretch your arms above your head, palms facing upwards. Gently lean from side to side, holding each side stretch for 10-15 seconds. This movement stretches the arms, shoulders, and sides of the torso, relieving tension and improving upper body flexibility.

Support Your Feet With KURU

An often overlooked aspect of office health is the importance of supportive footwear. KURU is designed to provide exceptional support and comfort for those long hours at the desk. Our shoes are equipped with patented KURUSOLE™ technology, ensuring your feet are well-supported, reducing the risk of discomfort and promoting overall foot health.

Incorporating these deskercises into your daily office routine can make a significant difference in your health and well-being. By making a conscious effort to move more, and ensuring your feet are comfortably supported with KURU footwear, you can counteract the negative effects of a sedentary job and lead a healthier, more active work life.

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