A gym at your desk

Sedentary life, super stressful office rhythms and inability to go to the gym? You can always do exercises suitable for confined spaces and limited times.

Sedentary life, super stressful office rhythms and inability to go to the gym? You can always do exercises suitable for confined spaces and limited times.

No excuses for the “workaholic”. If you want to get back in shape despite the tight pace of work and the impossibility of leaving your desk at decent hours, there is a way.

Ban on easy alibis then. Even for the busiest or laziest, here is a remedy for everyone: ten, fifteen minutes a day of desk exercise.

If performed continuously, in fact, they are enough to prevent many small ailments and to maintain acceptable muscle tone.

Obviously it would be advisable to practice a real motor activity, but for those who can’t, here are some exercises that can be easily performed without leaving your workstation.

Heating yes or no?

When you practice any sporting activity, before entering the specific work phase, the so-called workout, you usually dedicate yourself to an initial moment of muscle warm-up.

Clearly if you are in front of your PC in the office it can become problematic to maintain this scan and therefore you must first consider how much time and how much freedom of movement you have. But it would still be advisable to start with a small warm-up exercise , just to stretch a bit.

It is enough to get up and sit down quickly enough from your chair at least 20-30 times in a row.

Or, if you find the right excuse with your boss, take a quick tour to take some documents to another office, possibly climbing the stairs at a good pace.

A small indication: the exercises described below must be carried out keeping the chest and back erect and resting well on the backrest (unless there are explicit indications otherwise).

If the chair is equipped with wheels, it must be stopped, perhaps simply leaning it against the wall. Feet must be on the ground.

Abs and glutes

Place your hands on your thighs and inhale, then contract your abs inward as you exhale, then inhale again and simultaneously relax your abs. Repeat the sequence 15-20 times.

Hold your hands on the side edges of the chair and lift both legs by bending them towards the bust, then bring them back to the starting position. Lift and flex 15 times. Do at least two sets of this exercise.

While sitting, contract and relax your buttocks continuously 20-30 times.


Place your palms and forearms on the desk and push down forcefully, maintaining this effort for about 15 seconds. Repeat this exercise 5 times with a break of a few seconds between each execution.

Place your hands under the desk keeping your elbow bent at ninety degrees and push up. Hold the pressure for 15 seconds and repeat 5 times as above.


While seated , slowly lift the back of the sole of the foot until you rest on the toes, then do the opposite movement, i.e. put the entire sole on the ground and lift the toes while resting on the heels. It must be a slow, fluid and continuous movement. Repeat 15 times and do two sets.

Place your hands on the side edges of the chair and quickly enough lift and flex first one leg and then the other towards the torso. Do this 15 times for each leg.


Raise your arms while inhaling, keep them parallel and alternately stretch them upwards as if to climb. You should feel your back muscles stretching well. Count to fifteen, then as you exhale, relax your arms along your torso. Pause for a few seconds and repeat the exercise.

Raise your arms as you inhale and cross your wrists over your head by joining your palms. Stretch your arms towards the ceiling as much as possible while keeping your back straight. Hold the position for ten seconds then, exhaling, release your hands and let your arms go along your torso. After a few seconds, repeat the exercise.

Place your hands behind your neck keeping your torso upright. Open your elbows and bring your shoulder blades together as much as possible. Stay like this for 5 seconds, take a short break and repeat the exercise 4 times.


Rest your hands on your knees relaxing your shoulders and arms. Slowly tilt your head first to the right then to the left 5 times. After pausing for a few seconds, repeat once more.

Same starting position as in the previous exercise: very slowly bend your head forward and bring it back straight 5 times. Repeat.

Still maintaining the same posture, rotate your head to the right and then to the left slowly 10 times.

And finally, some stretching

The table describes some simple stretching exercises to complete the workout:

Back Bend your torso forward until you rest your chin on your knees and your hands on the floor. Maintain this position for 15 seconds and then slowly lift your torso and place it back on the back of the chair Repeat 2 times
Arm Extend the right arm to the left, and push it towards the chest with the left forearm. Hold this pressure for ten seconds. Release your arms along the torso Repeat the same sequence with the other arm
Legs Sit on the tip of the chair and stretch your legs out in front of you. Lean forward as far as possible towards the ankles. Hold the position for ten seconds. Slowly lift your torso up, softly rounding your back Repeat the exercise after a break of a few seconds
Dita This exercise is very useful for those who type on a keyboard all day. Keep your palm resting on the desk and spread your fingers keeping them taut, then try to stretch them a little as if to loosen them. Continue for ten seconds, then fold your fingers into fists and unclench them Repeat ten times consecutively first with one hand and then with the other

Not just in the office

Of course, you can do these exercises anywhere. At home, in the hotel or in the park on a bench. No tools, little space, no cost.

Furthermore, this table is flexible and customizable, so it can be simplified based on the time you have available and your needs.

In fact, it is possible to choose only one exercise per muscle area, or to focus on those parts of the body that are perhaps more affected by a sedentary life, such as the back and neck.

And then you go back to work with a greater sense of well-being and a better ability to concentrate.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

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