10 Deskercises For Office Workers

Posted January 22, 2014, by Andrea Riddell

Studies have shown that the sedentary lifestyle can and will kill you. But most of the time you’re not deskbound by choice. Finding a job that allows for more activity and less sitting throughout the day can be about as easy as trading in your white-collar career for life as an organic bean sprout farmer. For those of us who still enjoy taking part in the rat race, however, it seems that every health expert and his dog is urging us to find every opportunity to stand up and move around. So we’ve road tested a series of deskercise exercises, from the tricky to the just plain wacky, to help you get moving while you get the job done. 

Deskercise: Carpal Tunnel Reliever

Difficulty: easy
Discreet: yes

Instructions: Stand at your desk arms straight. Place your palms on the desk with your fingers pointed towards you. Lower your body slowly until you can feel the stretch. Hold for 15 seconds.
Verdict: An easy exercise that won’t break a sweat! And your colleagues will think you’re just standing up. My carpal tunnels felt much better! 

Deskersice: The Football Drill

Difficulty: easy
Discreet: definitely not

Instructions: Sit at your desk and pump both arms over your head for 30 seconds. Then tap your feet on the floor at a quick pace for 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
Verdict: While it’s a great way to get the blood pumping and snap out of that 3:30-itis, it’s not the most covert of deskercises. This is one that’s probably best performed amongst friendly, laid-back colleagues lest you want strange looks and weird questions – or get them to join in and feel less like a fool! 

Deskercise: Invisible Chair Sit

Difficulty: medium
Discreet: not really

Instructions: Stand in front of your chair with your feet in line with your hips. Start to lower your butt until it’s just above your chair and hold. Then sit down as slowly as possible. Repeat 20 times.
Verdict: This one is a killer for your glutes and hammies but doesn’t require too much exertion. It’s discrete enough in that you won’t be making any noise, but your head bobbing up and down above your computer might be a distraction to your colleagues. 

Deskercise: The Wall Lean

Difficulty: medium
Discreet: somewhat

Instructions: Stand with your back against the wall. Bend your knees and slide your back down the wall, walking out your feet until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds.
Verdict: Feel the burn! If you’re just doing some reading, why not do it on the wall! Just watch out for wet paint or unsteady gyprock and you should be fine. 

Deskercise: The Seated Crunch

Difficulty: depends on your abs
Discreet: to a degree

Instructions: Sit on the edge of your chair and lean back until your back touches the back of the chair. Support yourself with the armrests and bring your knees up, making sure that your shins are parallel to the floor. Then bring your knees and chest closer together. Repeat 10 times.
Verdict: This is a tricky one for anyone struggling with their ‘core’ area. Needless to say, working on your abs while you’re working in the office feels like the best kind of multi-tasking! Not suited for an open plan office or skirts. 

Deskercise: The Chair Swivel

Difficulty: easy
Discreet: yes

Instructions: Sit upright with your feet slightly off the floor. Hold onto the edge of your desk with your fingers and thumb and use your core to swivel the chair from side to side. Repeat 15 times.
Verdict: A deskercise that’s fun and a workout! Your co-workers might think you’re just being silly, while secretly you’re working on your obliques. 

Deskercise: The Lift Off

Difficulty: tricky
Discreet: somewhat

Instructions: Make sure your chair is sturdy enough to support your weight.
Place both hands on your armrests and slowly lift your bottom off the chair. Lower yourself, stopping just short of the seat and hold. Repeat 15 times.
Verdict: If you’re suffering from a case of tuckshop arms, this deskercise could be a sweat-buster. You can, however, use it to peer out over your computer and see what your co-workers are up to. 

Deskercise: The Chair Wheelie

Difficulty: easy to medium
Discreet: yes

Instructions: Hold on to the edge of your desk. Slowly push your chair back until your head is between your arms. Then slowly pull yourself back in. Repeat 15 times.
Verdict: This is a great way to stretch out the back and work the biceps at the same time. It also gives your eyes a little break from staring at the monitor. 

Deskercise: The Desk Push-Up

Difficulty: medium to hard
Discreet: no

Instructions: Make sure your desk can support your weight. Put your hands on your desk and walk out your feet until you’re in a push-up position. Proceed to do a push-up. Repeat 15 times.
Verdict: Great for mental blocks or brainstorming sessions, this deskercise gives you a chance to shake out your legs and work on your upper body. It does require a wide berth around your desk and some understanding colleagues. 

Deskercise: The One-legged Printer Squat

Difficulty: extreme
Discreet: no

Instructions: Stand with your legs hip-width apart. Hold onto a table, wall or printer for support and lift one leg up. Squat down, keeping your other leg off the ground. Slowly bring yourself back up to a standing position. Repeat with the other leg.
Verdict: This is a tough exercise regardless of whether you’re in the office or the gym. Having your leg sticking out might attract some attention and if you fall over mid-squat, then it becomes even less of a cloak-and-dagger exercise. Great for passing the time while you wait for your photocopying. 

Worried that your sedentary job will have an impact on your waistline? Here are 10 tips to avoid getting fat at work

Andrea Riddell

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