Feel the Burn: 6 Easy Exercises to do from your Desk

Let’s face it — we can’t always go to the gym. But, with more time spent on work, commuting, and tedious to-do’s, 46% of UK workers say they don’t’ have enough time to work out. And, with most UK workers sitting at their desk between 4 and 9 hours a day, a majority of adults are overweight or obese, with 67% of men compared to 60% of women.

While getting in extra steps seems impossible, there’s an easy way to make some power moves: at your desk. It might not seem like a lot, but one study found that standing and engaging in light physical activity for just 2 minutes every hour, reduces risk of death by 33%. So, whether you’re working from home or in the office, here are 6 easy exercises that you can do at your desk, from low to high intensity.

Arm Circles

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms extended straight out to your sides at shoulder height, move your arms in a small backward circle, as shown here.

Do this 20 times in one direction, then switch and repeat.

Looking to up the ante? Hold water bottles to create more resistance.

Calf Raise

In this simple move, begin with your hands by your side, lift the balls of your feet and hold, before moving back down to the floor. Repeat this move making sure to keep your back straight and core tight. Watch a video on how to do them here.

Try two or three sets of 12 to 15 reps, or until you start feeling the burn.

If you’re finding it difficult, lean on a chair or wall for a bit more stability. Want to increase the burn? Use some filled water bottles for extra weight.

Seated Leg Raise

As shown in this video, sit up in your office chair. Straighten your left leg out in front of you, holding it parallel to the floor, and keep it in place for 10 seconds. Now, do the same with your right.

Repeat with both legs for 15 reps. Becoming a leg day pro? Add weight to the raise by looping your purse or briefcase on your legs.

This sneaky move can even be done while you’re working.

Tricep Dip

For this exercise, you need an office chair that won’t roll away from you. If you’re WFH, you could even use one of your dining table chairs.

Scoot to the very front edge of your chair, and place your legs out in front of you. Place your hands on either edge of the chair and, using your core to raise your body, move off the chair and down towards the floor. Then raise back up.

Repeat this move 15 times in 3 sets, as shown in this video.

Chair Squats

Are tricep dips not tricky enough for you? Feel the burn with some simple chair squats.

Stand up from your office chair, lowering you back down and stop before you sit on the chair. Hold for a moment, then stand back up again.

Repeat 10 times.

Desk push up

To really build some heat, try following along with this video by placing your arms a shoulder-width apart at the edge of your desk, and moving your feet away from the desk until you’re inclined towards it. Then, while breathing in, slowly lower your chest down towards the desk, and exhale as you push yourself back.

Repeat as many times as you can.

Important: if you have any heels or wedges, take your shoes off.

If exercising really is this easy, it looks like there’s no excuse not to anymore…

Written by Alison Irlam
Alison is a writer with a keen interest in mental health and wellbeing. Since finishing a postgraduate degree in Creative Writing and having her own experiences with mental health, she has dedicated her time to helping and empowering others to make positive changes in their own lives.

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