exercises to do at your desk

Experts agree that you should get at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week, which turns out to be thirty minutes a day for five days. However, it can be difficult to reach 30 minutes of activity a day, primarily if you work full time and have responsibilities when you get home. If you work in an office and sit at your desk for eight or more hours a day, getting exercise can seem daunting. Sitting all day makes you want to continue sitting when you get home. After all, a body at rest stays at rest. 

If you work at a desk, it’s important to start moving more to help you lose weight and stay active to improve your physical and mental health. So, take off your running shoes because here are some exercises you can do from your desk while listening to podcasts or in between meetings to increase your energy and be more productive at work. 

Arm Rotations

Arm rotations are a good way to get the blood flowing in your arms and motivate yourself to be healthier. It can also help you tone your upper arms to help you fight sagging skin. You can sit at your desk and reach your arms out to form a T with your body with your palms facing the floor to perform arm rotations. Next, rotate your arms so your palms face the ceiling. Repeat these rotations for 30 seconds or more to gain the most benefits. 

Chair Marching

Your office likely doesn’t have a treadmill, but you can still get some cardio in while sitting at your desk. To chair march, all you have to do is ensure your thighs are parallel to the floor and lift one foot off the floor without moving your lower back or leaning to one side. From there, you’ll lift your knee as high as you can and repeat on the other side. 

Chair marching can help you tone your abs, and if you practice enough, you can start breaking a sweat in the office. 


Squats are one of everyone’s least favorite exercises, but they can help tone your lower body and keep you fit even while you’re working in an office. To squat at your desk, you’ll just need to stand and move your chair away from your body to give yourself enough room. Make sure to engage your core and bring your arms out in front of you so you can keep your spine in a neutral position. 

Next, you’ll bend your knees and lower your hips, keeping your knees aligned with your feet. 

Tricep Dips

The office is one of the best places to work out your triceps because you likely have tons of chairs and tables to work with. Tricep dips can help you tone your arms and back. You can use a sturdy chair that won’t move or a table. The lower the surface, the more complex the exercise will become, so it’s best to start with a hip height table. To start, all you need to do is stand with your hands behind you on the surface and start dipping your body down. The stronger you get, the less you’ll need to rely on your legs to bring you back up. 

Leg Lifts

Leg lifts can help you tone your lower body and abs, depending on the type you do. You can work your inner thighs and abs by standing in an upright position and lifting one leg to the side or in front of you, then repeat the process for the other side. You can also target your glutes by putting your hands on your desk and lifting your legs up behind you. 

Free Weights

You don’t have to bring your weights to work with you, but you can still lift weights while sitting at your desk. Take two full water bottles and begin using them to help you tone your arms. You can do any exercise you’d typically do with free weights, including bicep curls and lateral raises, and you don’t even have to stand to get an effective arm workout from your desk. 

Desk Push-Ups

You can use your desk to get the same effect as doing push-ups at home. All you need to do is stand away from your desk and keep your body straight. Your desk can give you something to push up from. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also switch it up and put your feet on your desk and your hands on the floor. However, this reverse is more difficult as you’ll have the weight of your entire lower body relying on your arms and back. 

Resistance Bands

You might not be able to bring your favorite cardio machine to work, but you can still bring a few pieces of equipment, such as resistance bands. Any exercise you do at home with resistance bands can be done in your office, as long as you have enough space. 


The exercises listed here have all been strength-training exercises. While you can break a sweat and get your heart rate up with strength training, cardio is still important. If you need to get more cardio, it can be difficult without making some adjustments to your office. 

If you want to get cardio at your desk, you can invest in a treadmill desk that has enough space for your notebook and laptop. It’s similar to a standing desk, but you’ll be able to walk while you work. Of course, if you need to type or focus, you might have to stop walking. 

You can also get a stationary desk bike that you can use throughout the day, especially when you’re reading or preparing for a meeting. 

Believe it or not, you don’t have to purchase any of these products to get cardio at your desk. You can do many different chair exercise videos in your office if you don’t mind breaking a sweat. 

Another great way to get your cardio in is to take your pet on a walk, or you can play with your kids on your break. 

Exercise at Your Desk

Working at a home office desk all day can make you feel like you’ll never be able to get the workout you need to treat your body the way it deserves. Luckily, you can build strength and improve your health from your desk without having to go for a jog around the building at lunch. 

Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.