The Best Exercises You Can Legit Do at Your Desk from The Best Exercises You Can Legit Do at Your Desk

The Best Exercises You Can Legit Do at Your Desk

The unfortunate trend in the U.S. and all over the world is that people spend more and more time in a sedentary position, whether it is at work or at home. In fact, 25 percent of adults in the country are not active at all, according to the CDC. The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of effort to reverse the trend and to foster physical activity and exercise habits, whether you are working in an office and have fallen victim to a deskbound way of life. “Moving during the day, even at the office, can reduce the risk of backaches, stiffness and headaches,” Angela Gallagher, Certified Group Fitness Instructor and Certified Personal Trainer, says.

Bicep Curls

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They can be done with two water bottles in each hand to add resistance, Gallagher says. The exercise helps strengthen the muscles. However, many people don’t do bicep curls correctly. Many times this exercise ends up being performed where the elbows are widely flared out or the shoulders and the entire body are used to throw the weight up.

Isometric Shrug

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It helps reduce neck fatigue, according to Gallagher. “Performing isometric exercises regularly will help with improving the overall flexibility of your joints,” she adds.  Such exercises also help improve muscles after a surgery. “They can be especially beneficial when it comes to ball-and-socket joints such as the knee, hip or shoulder, and can also help improve bone density, minimize arthritis and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.”

Neck Extension/Flexion

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“This stretch relieves jaw tension and allows the side of the neck, front of the deltoid and part of the chest muscle to open and lengthen,” Gallagher says. Slowly tilt your left ear toward the shoulder. Place the top of your right hand on the lower part of the back, and roll the right shoulder down and away from the ear. Place your left hand with slight pressure on the top of the head. Slightly lift the chin and keep the jaw open. Hold for five deep breaths, release, and repeat on the opposite side.

Seated Lateral Flexion

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This stretch expands the chest muscles while lengthening the latissimus dorsi and serratus anterior muscles, according to Gallagher. Sit upright with feet firmly planted on the ground. Keep the spine neutral and place hands interlocked behind the head. Hold and allow the chest to open for three breaths, while the elbows open to the side. Exhale; laterally flex the spine on the left side – imagine the left side of the rib cage moving closer to the hip bone. Hold for five deep breaths, return to center and repeat on the opposite side.

Shoulder Abduction

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Side lateral raises strengthen the muscles in the shoulder. “Although all three heads of the shoulder are activated, the primary focus is the medial head,” Gallagher says. “Two filled water bottles can also be used to add resistance.”

Chair Dips

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Chair dips, when done properly, are excellent for targeting the back of the arm jiggle, or triceps. “Remember to keep your back close to the chair as you dip up and down to reduce strain on the shoulder, and aim elbows behind you,” Gallagher says.

Toe Raises

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This is a good exercise for increasing circulation and shaping/strengthening calf muscles, according to Gallagher. “As a bonus, if you can perform this exercise without holding onto anything, you will be engaging in a balance challenge, which is essential as we age to prevent falls,” she adds.

Pushups Against the Desk

They are a great idea for targeting the muscles in the upper body, Gallagher says. “Make sure your hands are shoulder width apart, and directly under the shoulders (not out in front of you).” Hold your core in/tight while performing the pushups. You will engage or work your core muscles, along with chest, shoulders and triceps.

Chair Squats

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This exercise targets the leg muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.  “Many individuals do not push their hips back far enough during a squat and having the chair behind you helps to correct this mistake,” Gallagher says.

Shoulder Squeezes

This exercise will strengthen your rhomboids, skeletal muscles on the back. Shoulder position is important, especially if you work at a computer, which tends to encourage forward-slumping posture. “Slumped-over posture can lead to fatigue, back pain and other problems,” Gallagher says. “Learning to keep your shoulder blades back and down helps you restore your body to good posture, both in the gym and everyday life,” she adds.

Wall Sits

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Wall sits, a great exercise for a perfect beach bottom, can be done anywhere you have a wall that is sturdy. “Wall sitting builds your isometric strength and endurance in glutes, calves and quadriceps,” Gallagher says.

Leg Raises

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This is an easy exercise that you do, as you sit in a chair and extend one leg. “A simple leg raise can increase your blood flow, strengthen your leg and core muscles, decrease the risk of muscle atrophy and increase your energy levels,” Gallagher says. Leg raises are generally simple abs moves anyone can do.

Seated Hip Flexion

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With a tall spine, sit towards the edge of your seat with your hands placed lightly next to your hips. Draw your belly button into your spine to engage your core, and then slowly lift your right leg up off of the floor. Lower your right leg. Repeat the movement with your left. For a more advanced version, lift both legs off the ground at the same time. Repeat for 10-20 reps to strengthen your hip-flexor and core muscles.

Isometric Prayer Pose

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This isometric exercise won't necessarily make you move more, but it can help strengthen your pectoral muscles. Simply place your hands together at the center of your chest and then, as you concentrate on squeezing your chest muscles, just press your palms together as hard as you can. Hold for 10-20 seconds and repeat 3-4 times. 

Flexed-Elbow Shoulder Circles

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This is another great exercise for increasing shoulder joint mobility and keeping that upper-body blood flowing. Extend your right arm out to the side and touch your right hand to your right shoulder to flex the elbow. Circle your arm forward for 10 reps, then backwards for another 10. Repeat the same sequence with your left arm.