5 Exercises to Do at Your Home Desk
With more companies adopting work from home policies for their employees, many people are rethinking the way they work. Moving your workspace from a formal office to your home can be challenging. Perhaps you had a standing desk or an ergonomic chair, but now you’re left to figure out a home office setup that enables comfort and productivity.
For many office workers, companies provide standing desks to help encourage movement and prevent long hours of sitting. Studies have found that standing at an adjustable workstation may help with back and neck discomfort and even increase productivity. While that may not be considered exercise at your desk, it’s one way to keep your body from being sedentary.
If you’re working in a remote environment, there are still a number of ways to promote health and wellbeing during the workday. Sometimes, even a simple home yoga sequence is enough to get your body moving.
Whether it’s a standing desk, a walk around the block, or simply stretching, finding a way to move throughout the day is key to your health. To help you out, here are five tips for how to do exercises at your desk that can help prevent you from feeling stagnant while staying productive.
Benefits of Desk Exercises
Movement is vital to keeping your body and mind feeling good. Yet, with sedentary jobs having increased 83 percent since 1950, many people are finding it difficult to fit adequate movement and exercise into their days.
Thankfully, spurts of regular movement throughout the day can reap amazing benefits–and it’s important even for people that are active outside of working hours. Adding in desk exercises may:
- Help with overall productivity and focus on the job
- Prevent back and neck stiffness
- Improve heart rate variability (heart’s ability to go from resting to energized)
- Assist with weight management
- Improve blood circulation
- Reduce stress levels
How can you enjoy these benefits, especially from a remote work environment? Here are a few easy ways to do exercise at your desk at home.
5 Easy Desk Exercises to Stay Energized
The great part about doing exercises at your home desk is that you don’t need equipment, a gym, or a lot of space to raise your heart rate. Just a bit of a cardio burst or other movement can jumpstart your body, wake you up, and help you feel ready to tackle the rest of your workday.
1. Desk Stretches
This is an especially useful desk exercise if you do have a standing desk. You’re already up and ready to go. Even if you’re sitting, there are a number of helpful stretches to improve mobility.
Here are a few easy stretches to do at your workstation. You can even use your desk as a helpful prop:
- Forward fold with bent knees
- IT band stretch (cross one leg over the other and fold forward)
- Static lunge to open front of hips
- Cat/Cow spine stretches with hands supported on edge of desk
- Calf raises
- Standing backbend with hands supporting lower back
Try a few seated stretches every half hour or so, in between your standing breaks:
- Wrist stretches
- Seated twist
- Lift and lower arms above head, taking deep breaths
- Shoulder shrugs
- Neck rolls
2. Desk Push-Ups
Wake up your shoulders, chest, and wrists with a few rounds of desk push-ups.
- Place your hands on the edge of the desk, slightly more than shoulder-width apart, and walk your feet back away from the desk. Your torso should be at a slight incline.
- Bend your elbows out and lower your chest towards the desk.
- Exhale to push away from the desk.
Try a few and increase reps as you’re able to. Do a few rounds and follow up with a good shoulder stretch
3. Jump Around to Get the Blood Pumping
There are many ways to incorporate jumping into a desk exercise routine. Plyometric movements like jumping may help keep your heart healthy, strengthen muscles, burn calories, and increase blood flow:
- Jumping jacks
- Jump rope (with an actual rope or without)
- Jump squats
- Alternating jump lunges
One of the great aspects about each of these desk exercises is that they can be modified:
- Instead of a full jumping jack, you can step each foot out while moving your arms
- Jump ropes can be turned into stepping rope
- Jump squats can be basic squats
- Jump lunges can be alternating step lunges
Regardless of the intensity level, your body will be grateful for the extra movement.
4. Plank for Core Strength
Sitting at a desk can lead to tighter glutes and hip flexors (muscles in the front of hips), and weaken the core, especially if you find yourself hunching forward. Keeping your core strong may help alleviate lower back sensitivity and improve posture, especially when sitting.
To keep your core (all the muscles in the center of your body, not only abdominal muscles) strong, and give your shoulders a nice wakeup call, try plank pose:
- High plank: hands on ground shoulder-width apart, feet about hip-width apart. Hold for up to one minute.
- Forearm plank: place forearms on floor with elbows directly below shoulders and forearms parallel to each other. Feet are about hip width apart. Hold for up to one minute.
- Side plank: can be done on hands or forearms. Place one hand or arm down and roll over to stack one side of your body on top of the other. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
If you’re still working on core and shoulder strength, try the plank exercises with your knees down. Continue to engage your lower belly, legs, and upper body, but with the added support of your knees. As you build strength, try it with knees lifted.
5. Keep Your Arms and Shoulders Moving
Even though your fingers may be typing away, your wrists, arms, and shoulders can get fairly tight after being in the same position at your keyboard. Repetitive motions such as typing are common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, which can cause pain in the hands and wrists. With a few minutes of simple exercises you can do at your home desk, you may be able to prevent some of the nagging effects of using a computer:
- Forward arm circles
- Backwards arm circles
- Lift arms above your head and lower
- Lift arms straight out in front of torso to shoulder height, then lower
- Wrist circles
Use Ergonomic Office Supplies for a Healthy Workspace
Desk exercises are a great addition to your work routine, but even when you’re not moving, you can support your body to help prevent stiffness and soreness. The following supplies are a great addition to your desk space, whether you’re at home, or in an office:
- Standing/adjustable desk
- Lumbar support pillow
- Adjustable laptop stand
- Memory foam mouse pad
- Wrist pillow for keyboard
- Seat cushion
- Ergonomic chair
- Desk light
After you’re done with the workday, don’t forget to celebrate. Turn on your favorite tunes, do a little dance, or take a quick walk around the block. To really keep things moving, pair your desk exercises with an at home HIIT workout in the morning or evening. You’ll feel energized and ready to take on the next workday while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Moving your body is an important part of each day, but so is nourishing yourself with delicious, whole foods. At PlateJoy, we love helping people create custom healthy meal plans and grocery lists that enhance their quality of life with amazing recipes for any diet. Whether you work from home or in an office, sign up for a free trial today to see how a personalized meal plan can add convenience to your daily routine.