Sitting all day can have detrimental consequences on your health and productivity. These simple desk exercises and tips can help promote your personal health.

10 Minutes Reading

The scientific evidence is in for what we all knew to be true: sitting too long is a major health hazard. Over the last decade, research has revealed prolonged sitting messes with your metabolism, accelerates obesity, increases lifestyle related disease and can potentially shorten your life span.

That’s why more office workers are choosing to buy a versatile standing desk, which allows for a greater variety of movement throughout the work day. Standing desks provide for better focus and productivity for your important work, as well as the opportunity to stay healthy and fit.

Try these 10 simple exercises with your standing desk to give you a speedy total body workout, which covers all major muscle groups in the body. Performing regular intervals of moving or standing while working helps to reduce your risk of disease, improve your mood and productivity, and keeps your body functioning well and feeling fantastic without even having to leave your desk.

1. Extend Yourself: A great way to start your desk exercises is while still seated with some leg extensions.

  • Sitting upright, place your feet on the floor with your knees at a right angle
  • Extend one leg at a time, until the leg is straight and the quads are contracted.
  • Hold for 3 seconds, and then slowly lower.
  • Repeat on each side 12-15 times, and repeat 3 sets.

2. Core Values: While you’re sitting it’s a good opportunity to work in some abdominal exercises. An office chair with wheels is perfect, as it allows you to target the oblique abs with its swivel action.

  • Hold lightly onto the edge of the desk with feet off the floor and swivel from side to side, controlling the movement with your abs.
  • Swivel up to 15 times for a stronger core.

3. Stay On Your Toes: Now it’s time to switch the game up by converting your standing desk from the sitting position to the standing position. Then you can start by encouraging the circulation from the lower extremities with calf raises.

  • With your feet hip width apart, slowly lift your heels up off the floor. Balance on your toes for 3 seconds while contracting the calf muscle, then slowly lower.
  • Perform 12-15 reps of this exercise, and up to 3 sets.
  • Want to take it to the next level? Perform the exercise on only one leg at a time.
How High Should My Standing Desk Be? Standing Desk Height Recommendations:
A good rule to follow for standing desk posture and height is to keep your elbows at no less than a 90-degree angle and your screen at, or slightly below, eye level**. If you're having a tough time getting into the standing routine or feel like your standing desk isn't working its wonders, this could make a world of difference. Monitor arms specifically designed for standing desks can help you to maintain proper standing desk posture by adjusting your computer monitor height separately from your keyboard height.

4. Right on Point: Let’s keep the legs moving with a bend and point exercise.

  • With legs slightly apart, bend the knees a little until you feel the quads tighten up.
  • Lift your right foot off the ground and extend it forward, pointing the toe if you wish.
  • Hold for 3 seconds, then bring the right foot back in without letting it touch the ground, extend again out to the side.
  • Repeat this process extending the foot to the back as well, then bring the foot back in and relax.
  • Repeat the whole exercise on both legs from 3-5 times depending on your leg stamina!

5. How About a Raise?: A leg raise that is! Strengthen hamstrings and gluts by performing a standing leg curl at your standing desk by starting with legs close together but not touching.

  • Slowly bend one leg at the knee and raise the heel, aiming to touch it to the back of your thigh. Once again, the key here is to perform the exercise slowly for maximum benefit.
  • Repeat this one 10-12 times, and perform 3 sets on each leg, taking a little break between sets.

6. Lots of Squats: The gluts are some of the largest and strongest muscles in the body, so just because they’re ‘behind’ don’t leave them out of mind.

  • Perform a desk squat by keeping feet about shoulder width apart and slowly bending your knees while pushing the buttocks backwards.
  • The aim is to keep the knees behind the toes, so take a quick glance down to check on this.
  • Perform 12-15 squats, have a rest then repeat up to 3 times.

7. Put Your Hands in the Air: You don’t have to wait until Friday to let off a little steam! Put your hands up with a shoulder press.

  • Starting with hands at shoulder height, lift them above your head.
  • Use a small weight or a water bottle to add a bit of resistance.
  • Repeat 12-15 reps and complete up to 3 sets.

8. Biceps that mean Business: Give your arms a workout on something other than a keyboard with a bicep curl.

  • Holding a water bottle, stapler, or another heavy small item, place your arms by your side, palms forward.
  • Slowly lift the heavy item, bending your arm at the elbow, until your hand is about 5 inches from your shoulder.
  • Slowly lower and repeat 12-15 times on both arms for 3 sets.

9. Hot Off the Press: Keep those biceps balanced with a tricep press for the back of the arms.

  • While still holding the small weight, lean forward slightly, and raise your hand so your elbow is bent with the hand resting at about your waist level.
  • Slowly extend the hand backwards, straightening the arm, then slowly return to the starting position.
  • Perform 12-15 times on both arms and repeat 3 sets.

10. March: With our muscles warmed up and strengthened, let’s get into a bit of cardio with a stationary march.

  • If you really want to step it up you can jog or jump on the spot.
  • The higher you lift the knees, the stronger the burn!

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10 Tips to Stay Healthy at Work:

Tip 1 – Banish excess fat, sugar and salt: Your waistline is no match for cupcakes and chips that have taken over your office’s kitchen. While you can’t control what snacks your coworkers bring to the office, you can put them away in the fridge or a cabinet. Out of sight, out of mind!

Tip 2 – Kick your soda habit to the curb: A soda habit can quickly put a damper on weight loss efforts. For a healthy alternative without sacrificing the fizz, opt for sparkling water. The meteoric rise of brands like La Croix and Topo Chico prove that it’s the effervescent sparkle, not the sugar, that helps beat an afternoon slump.

Tip 3 – Check your posture: Whether you’re standing or sitting at your desk, posture is important! Make sure your feet are pointing forward and your back isn’t arched over the desk. Check out our selection of standing desk accessories which can aid in achieving and maintaining proper posture.

Tip 4 – Get outside: During warmer months, the sun stays out longer so you can, too. Take advantage of more hours of sunlight and hit the beach on a summer Friday, join a local yoga practice or take the dogs to the park after work.

Tip 5 – Take your meeting to the streets: Conference rooms are so 2019. Squeeze in a few extra steps by taking your next meeting outside.

Tip 6 – Stay hydrated: It’s common knowledge that being dehydrated can wreak havoc on your body. From debilitating fatigue to increased cravings, skimping out on water, especially when temperatures are soaring, can lead to decreased productivity. Keep a reusable water bottle at your desk and sip throughout the day to ensure you are always adequately hydrated.

Tip 7 – Grab a brown bag: Buying lunch at the local sandwich shop can have a negative impact on your wallet and your waistline. Try packing lunch a few times a week with healthy, fresh ingredients. If they are available in your area, local farmers’ markets are a great way to source cheap, local produce.

Tip 8 – Recenter Yourself: A healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body! On your next break, find a quiet place and take 5-10 minutes to relax your mind and focus on deepening your breath. You'll be surprised at how easy it is to get your mind back on track, focused, and ready to continue tackling the day!

Tip 9 – Take a lap: … Around the office! Burn off a few calories while you give your brain and eyes a break by taking a lap or two around the office.

Tip 10 – Stand up: Last but certainly not least, utilize a Vari standing desk solution and stand up while you work! You won’t believe how quickly standing at the office can elevate your work.

You may also enjoy the article 5 Days of Standing Desk Exercises to Enhance Mobility and Prevent Chronic Pain, authored in partnership with Spartan Race.