Stephanie Scoggins

Easy Exercises That You Can Do Sitting Down

3-minute read

Spending your time seated at a desk is no way to stay physically fit. Worse, that extended time seated can do a lot of damage unless your body is strong in your arms, legs and core.

Desk workers need to make a special effort to exercise. So, what better way to get it done than to exercise while sitting?

Desk exercise ensures that your body is moving and staying flexible and limber, without having to cut into your productive time to hit the gym. While it’s always good to stay fit outside of work, in-corporating these seated moves during the 9-5 workday makes physical fitness a true priority.

You can complete any or all of these exercises while you’re hard at work, prioritizing both your job and your wellness.


Upper-body Desk Exercise

Your upper body is often hard at work during desk duties, even if it doesn’t feel like it. If you are typing, filing, or taking notes, you are using the muscles in your upper body, particularly your arms, hands, and wrists. Ensure that you have the strength and flexibility to keep up with your work by incorporating some sitting-down exercises for your upper body.

Arm circles are one of the easiest ways to keep your upper body active. A typical warm-up move, this is simple to translate to seated exercise. Stay seated, then touch your shoulders with your fingers, rolling your arms in backward circles.

If you are ready for something a bit more advanced, move forward in your seat and put your hands on the edge of your chair facing forward. Hold yourself up with straight arms, and keeping your back close to the chair, bend your elbows to dip. You’ve just completed a seated triceps dip.

If you can get up out of your chair and use it and your other furniture as a prop, a chair plank or desk/wall push-up is always an option.


Whole-body, Sitting-down Exercise

It is important to engage your core muscles and keep them strong and active during seated work. By focusing on your overall body posture and keeping muscles engaged, you can consciously maintain a healthy position. Tighten those ab muscles, straighten your back and check in on your posture every so often throughout the day.

Chair-based cardio is another great way to get a whole body workout in while sitting down. Yes, you can do jumping jacks as a desk exercise; Extend your arms and legs like you would in a jumping jack, but stay seated.

Engage your abs even further with seated abdominal twists. All you have to do is cross your arms over your chest, flex your muscles and turn your upper body to one side. Twist back to center, then to the opposite side.


Lower Body Exercise While Sitting

Give your legs some attention with an exercise designed for sitting down. To start simply, leg extensions will get your blood flowing and encourage muscle engagement. Lift your legs and stretch them all the way out, one at a time.

Leg lifts add a bit more effort, starting with your legs bent at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor. Holding onto the chair for support, lean back with a straight spine and lift your legs to your chest keeping them bent. Return your feet to the floor and repeat.

In need of more leg-oriented cardio? Not a problem with seated running. Stay in your seat with your back straight, bend your legs, and ”run” in place with quick feet.

By creating a routine of exercising while sitting down, even for a short period each day, you are taking control of your health. It’s important to keep your routine manageable. Rest or stop activities if they do not feel right. Speaking to your doctor about a new exercise routine, including desk exercise, is always a good idea.

If you want to add even more to your workout, consider tech like under-desk ellipticals or low-tech resistance bands. Be sure anything you add is small, lightweight, and unlikely to distract colleagues (or even yourself). Remember, ultimately you can keep fit using your body weight.

Through these sitting-down exercises and any other seated routines, you reduce the risk of weight gain and injury. All it takes is a good office chair and a few minutes of your day.

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