Written by Pete Morano on August 9, 2013
Categories: Blog Posts

If you’re like the majority of American workers, sitting in a desk chair for 8 hours a day (or more) is part of your normal routine. However, sitting in front of your computer all day is not necessarily good for your physical or mental wellness.

It’s important that you’re sitting with proper posture for desk work with back should be straight and the top of your computer monitor at eye level. You should also be stretching your arms, legs, neck and torso every few hours while you’re sitting, and getting up to walk around every hour or so to prevent stiffness and eye strain.

You can also take advantage of downtime during large file downloads or computer rebooting to do some simple exercises that can strengthen your muscles and get your blood flowing at your desk. Here are some simple exercises and stretches you can do in the office (and without alarming your coworkers) to improve your posture and keep your health in check:

Chest: Star Arms 

This exercise is great for relieving all of the tightness and soreness caused by working on a computer for hours. It opens the chest and shoulders while strengthening the back for better posture.

Start with your arms extended out in front, hands touching. Open your arms into a “T” position, turning palms up and squeezing the shoulder blades. Return to start position. Open arms diagonally, turn palms upward, and squeeze the shoulder blades together, while turning the head to watch the top hand. Repeat on opposite side, and repeat on both arms eight to 10 times.

Abs: Chair Lift

If you’re looking to work the abdomen portion of your core, you don’t have to plop down on the floor of your office to fit in a stomach workout. Instead, look no further than your own desk chair.

Sit down nice and tall in your chair and push your shoulders back.. Move to the front edge of the chair and place your hands on the sides of the chair or on the armrests. While keeping your back straight, lift your knees. Bring them up to your chest and then back down. You can let your legs go all the way to the floor during the exercise, or not allow them to touch the ground between reps to make it even more challenging. Try two sets of 12.

Arms: Desk Dips

It can be easy to forget about strengthening your triceps, but we actually use them more than our biceps. These desk dips are aimed at toning the back of your arms.

Stand with your back facing your desk, hands on the edges of your desk. Keeping your lower body parallel, bend your elbows and lower down. Press up, bringing yourself back to the starting position. Repeat eight to 10 times.

Arms: Desk Push-Ups

Like a traditional push-up, this modified version will strengthen the chest, arms, and core, which can make it a great full-body exercise.

Place your hands on the edge of your desk, directly underneath your shoulders. Bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the desk until your chest is one to two inches away from your desk. Push up, keeping your ears, shoulders and hips all in alignment. Repeat eight to 10 times.

Legs: Chair Extensions

This exercise is inconspicuous — your co-workers will see you intently reading the report from yesterday’s meeting, but they won’t see you strengthening your abs and stretching your tired leg muscles under your desk.

Start with feet flat on floor and sit up straight in your chair. Holding your abdominal muscles tight, extend one leg until it is level with your hip. Hold for ten seconds and slowly lower your leg. Repeat 15 times and switch legs.

By making exercise part of your everyday work routine, you’ll be healthier, happier and more productive.

By: Victoria Fields