5 Easy Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk

Stuck in a chair for hours everyday? Join Upasana Kamineni Konidela as she shares some of her favourite desk exercises to stay healthy and active.

By Debashruti Banerjee
17 Nov 2021

Raise your hand if the Monday blues are hitting you extra hard after having to return to work post-festivities. With long hours at the desk or in front of a screen, continuous work hours can be exhausting—both from your home and at the office. Research suggests that excessive sitting can have a negative impact on our long-term health. According to a 2012 JAMA Network paper, prolonged sitting increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular problems.


What's the solution, you ask. With busy schedules and pending deadlines, reducing sedentary time seems almost impossible. This is why recent studies have focused on ways to make your workplace a more activity-friendly space. By taking short breaks and doing simple stretches at your chair, you can improve your posture, relieve some tension and engage in a healthier lifestyle. Here are some quick and simple exercises you can do at your desk in a few minutes, as demonstrated by Upasana Kamineni Konidela, Vice Chairman of CSR Apollo Hospitals Group and Managing Director of URLife.


Related story: 8 Simple Chair Yoga Poses to Recharge Your Body and Mind


1. Neck rotations

  • Sit straight on your chair with your arms resting on your lap.
  • Look straight ahead and relax your shoulders.
  • Lift your chin upwards and gently rotate your head towards the left side and try touching your chin towards the clavicle or collarbone and repeat.
  • Repeat on each side 10 times.


2. Side neck stretches

  • Sit straight on your chair with your arms resting on your lap.
  • Look straight ahead and relax your shoulders.
  • Gently move your head alternatively right and left, mimicking the "no" gesture, until you feel a pull.
  • Repeat on each side 10 times


3. Shoulder stretches

  • Sit straight in your chair.
  • Place both of your arms in front of you, mimicking a “stop” gesture.
  • Make sure your arms are in a straight line, parallel to the floor, from your shoulder to your wrists.
  • Move your shoulder blades backward and forward in a pull and push motion.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times.


4. Hold side stretches

  • Sit straight in your chair with your left hand on your waist.
  • Lift your right arm over your head and bend sideways towards your left.
  • When you feel a pull on your right side, hold the position for a few seconds.
  • Repeat the same exercise with your left arm.
  • Do this 10 times on each side.


5. L-shaped leg extensions

  • Sit straight in your chair with your arms on your lap.
  • Extend your right leg in front of you and bring it back.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times, alternating between both legs.



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