Long hours sitting at a desk can take a toll on our physical and mental wellbeing. Prolonged sitting can lead to increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and musculoskeletal issues, and may also negatively impact blood circulation and metabolism. Incorporating regular movement into our daily routine is essential for mitigating the adverse effects of sedentary behaviour and can boost our productivity in the workplace. 

Desk Exercises for All-Day Energy 

Encouraging desk exercises can combat the impact of prolonged sitting and significantly improves energy levels throughout the day. Here are some simple desk exercises that you and your colleagues can do at their workstations or even when working from home – try each exercise for 1-2 sets of 10 reps, a little movement goes a long way! 

a. Seated Leg Raises: Simply lift one leg at a time, hold for a few seconds, and lower it back down. Repeat on the other leg. This exercise engages the lower body muscles and improves circulation, combating the sedentary effects of prolonged sitting. 

b. Shoulder Rolls: Remember to take a break every hour to do shoulder rolls and encourage your team members to do the same. Try setting an alarm on your phone as a reminder. Roll your shoulders back and down, then forward in circular motions. This simple exercise reduces tension in the neck and shoulders, promoting relaxation and prevents stiffness. 

c. Desk Push-ups: Utilising the edge of their desk, place both palms shoulder width apart. Release down, maintaining your body weight and then push-up. This exercise targets the upper body muscles, helping improve strength and posture. 

d. Chair Dips: Place your hands on the edge of the chair, with your knees bent 90 degrees in front of you. Lower your body down, bending your elbows as you go, then push yourself back up to starting position. This exercise strengthens the arms and improves core stability. 

e. Neck Stretches: Gently tilt your head to each side and forward and backward for 30 seconds. This exercise helps alleviate neck stiffness caused by prolonged desk work. 

f. Eye Exercises: Regular eye exercises can help prevent eye strain. Aim to take a screen break every hour and focus on an object at a distance for a few seconds. 

g. Bulgarian Split Squats: Stand in front of the chair, place one foot on the seat behind you, lower your body by bending your front knee, keeping your back straight, then push through your front heel to return to the starting position. This is a great way to strengthen your lower body! 

Encouraging Movement Throughout the Day 

While desk exercises are beneficial, it’s equally important to encourage movement throughout the workday. Incorporate the following strategies to increase your physical activity: 

a. Walking Meetings: Encourage walking meetings or take phone calls outside. A brief stroll while discussing work matters can enhance creativity and boost overall mood. 

b. Take the Stairs: Choose the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible. Climbing stairs is an excellent way to engage the lower body and get the blood flowing. 

c. Stretch Breaks: Schedule regular stretch breaks to help release muscle tension, increase flexibility, and reduce the risk of injury. 

d. Stand-up Desks: Consider using a stand-up desk or adjustable workstations to switch between sitting and standing positions. Standing desks can promote better posture and reduce the strain on the lower back. 

Outside of work, maximise your time to ensure you are moving on most days. At Better Being, we use the Movement Pyramid to plan our exercise:  


Do something 1-2 days a week which you can engage with other people. This involves doing things like exercising with a friend, playing a team sport, or going for a cycle with the kids.   


Do something significantly more intense for at least 15-30 minutes at least 2 days a week. This includes things like cardiovascular activities or strength-based exercise.  


Do something every day for at least 15-30 minutes to actively reduce stress as needed. This includes things like stretching, breathing exercises, massages, light swimming, and long walks.  


A pyramid divided into three sections. The top sections reads 'Play (1-2 week)'. The second section reads 'Activate (2-3 week)'. The bottom section reads 'Regenerate (everyday)'.

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