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For at least 8 hours in the day, many people who work at a desk are stuck sitting. Then after a long day of work and possibly commuting, they just end up unwinding on the couch, unmotivated to exercise. So to make the most out the time you’re sitting down, here are some desk exercises and stretches you can start right now!

desk exercises and stretches

Leg Raises

Sitting upright in your chair with your feet flat on the ground, raise one or both of your legs so that your body forms a right angle. Hold for 10 seconds and then slowly lower your leg(s). Repeat 10-15 times. One modification for this exercise is to tighten your abs by pulling your stomach towards your back. Add the intensity by using one leg to press the other down as you raise it. Hold for at least 5 seconds and switch.

Glute Squeeze

For a muscle that you use to sit on all day, it doesn’t get much action. As you sit in your chair, squeeze your glutes together tightly for at least 5 seconds and release. Repeat as much as you’d like to tone your sitting muscle.

Hand Press/Pull

Sitting tall, bring the palms of your hands together in front of your chest. Then press them together until you feel a strong tension in your arms. Hold this for 20 seconds and release. For a balanced arm workout, grab your hands as if in a mirror image handshake where the thumbs are pointed in opposite directions. Pull both hands while maintaining the grasp and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat this as much as you’d like.

Shoulder Pinch

To work out your shoulder blades and stretch your chest, pull your shoulders back and try to get your shoulder blades to almost touch. Hold this for 5 or 10 seconds and release. Do this 10-15 times. You can do the same with shoulder shrugs by bringing your shoulders close to your ears and holding.

Neck Resistance

With your hands clasped behind your head as it faces down towards the desk, feel the tension in your neck as you try to bring your head up while your hands resist the action. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 5 times.

Abs Swivel

If you have a swivel chair, grab the end of your desk with just your fingers and with your feet just above the floor. Proceed to swivel side to side to stretch and tone your oblique muscles.

Abs Squeeze

This is probably one of the easiest abs exercises you can possibly do sitting at work. While sitting up in your chair, take a deep breath and then draw your abs toward your spine as you exhale. (Tip: With most if not all exercises, “exhale on exertion”)

Triceps Dip

Time to get up! Out of the chair that is. Align your tailbone with the edge of your desk with your feet far out, keeping your legs straight. Grab the edge of the desk with your hands and then slowly dip down so that your waist goes below desk-level and your elbows reach 90 degrees. Come back to starting position and repeat 10-15 times.

Parallel Squat

Another exercise to do out of the chair is these thigh trembling squats. Keep your feet and knees together and lower to a near sitting position. As you go down, lift your arms from your sides to just above shoulder level. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 5 times.


This one is for the ladies of the office. While standing or sitting, clench your lower pelvic muscles almost as if you are stopping a flow of urine. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times. Increase the hold time as exercise gets easier.

Sitting at your desk doesn’t have to mean dead weight anymore! You can keep the blood flowing and your body active from the privacy of your desk. Enjoy!