6 Easy Desk Exercises for the Workplace

Wellness initiatives can seem like an extravagant use of time and money to companies that have not yet adopted them. However, according to the federal Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, they have several benefits to employers – not the least of which are increased employee retention and reduced sick days. One of the easiest ways to emphasise wellness into the workplace is by introducing simple exercises that can help offset the negative effects of working long hours at a desk. 

Both active and sedentary work settings can exacerbate unwanted physical or mental health issues for workers. According to WebMD, spending long hours in seated positions can increase risk factors for heart and circulatory issues, as well as depression and chronic pain problems. However, sedentary workplaces see incredible results from introducing opportunities for physical activity into their employees’ workdays.

Here are six desk-related exercises to help team members improve posture and stay active throughout a long day at the office. They are written in the form of instructions that are easy to share with your employees. Enjoy!

6 Easy Desk Exercises for the Workplace

1. Neck Circles

Gently bend your head forward and slowly move it from one side to the other. Remember to breathe through your movements. After 5 repetitions, lift your head and gently lean it back. Repeat the side to side movements, minding your comfort level with each movement.

2. Shoulder Raises

Sit up straight and look straight forward. Let your hands go slack at your sides. Lift and rotate your shoulders forward, circling around and resting on each repetition. Repeat four times. Then, reverse direction and gently roll your shoulders back four times, again resting in between each repetition.

3. Back Twists

Start in a seated position looking forward. Raise both of your arms vertically and place your feet firmly on the floor. As you lower your arms, gently rotate left in your chair and place your left hand on the top-back of the chair. Rotate your head over your left shoulder. Only go as far as comfort permits. Hold the stretch for 8-10 seconds and return to center. Repeat on the right side.

4. Leg Raises

Push back from your desk enough to extend your legs straight ahead. Sit up straight and face forward. Brace yourself in your chair with your arms at your side. Then, do either of these variations of the leg raise.

  • Seated – Extend one leg straight forward until it is parallel with the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, then switch legs.
  • Hovering – Extend both legs straight forward until parallel with the floor. Lower them slowly until almost touching the floor. Hold the position for as long as you are comfortably able, then bring your legs to the ground.

5. Foot Taps

Sit straight ahead with your feet in full contact with the floor. Quickly raise and lower your feet as if sprinting in place while the rest of your body remains still. Continue foot taps for 30 seconds, rest and then repeat.

6. Chair Dip

Sit in a chair that will stay in place if pushed. Grasping the chair on either side of your torso, position yourself at the edge of your chair’s seat. Slide down toward the floor while your legs extend straight out in front of you with your heels touching the ground. Your body should make a 45-degree angle with the floor. Now lift yourself with your arms, like doing a backwards push-up. Lower yourself back down to the starting position and repeat 10-15 times.

At Josephine’s Professional Staffing, we aim to be a resource for employers and employees alike. To read more about worker retention and smart staffing solutions, see more blog articles here.

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