Working a desk job can not only be tiring, but it can also be quite monotonous. Thankfully, whether you’re working from home or in a cubicle at the office, there’s one way to stay active while breaking the routine: trying out different exercises you can do every hour!
Sometimes the least we can do to protect us from the everyday stresses of a full-time desk job is just to bust out a few moves and shake off our limbs. There’s actually a scientific explanation for this.
Keeping our body moving can help encourage proper blood circulation, reduce stress, and even help us lose weight. At the very least, they can give us a break from sitting all day answering emails or attending Zoom meetings.
Office Exercises for Every Hour of Work
These exercises are great whether you’re at home typing away in your designated workspace or in an office sharing a room with your co-workers. Don’t worry, they’re absolutely minimal disturbance and workplace friendly. You can even do some of them when you’re grabbing a snack at the pantry or filling up your water bottle!
Taking regular breaks after a certain period of time is also the foundation of one of the most popular productivity methods in history, the pomodoro technique. In essence, the pomodoro method is all about maximizing a long productive day by breaking it down into small chunks. You work for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. Plenty of people tweak this to their preference, and you can, too: for every hour of work, take a 15-20 minute break that includes these exercises.
Let’s get started!
1st Hour: The Seated Ballerina
Let’s say you’ve finally settled into your comfortable desk chair. Whether you’ve had an intense first hour full of phone calls and Skype chats or a laidback time preparing coffee while waiting for the day’s tasks to come in, this stretch is sure to start your day right.
While seated, simply stretch one arm over your head and lean your body to the other side. Feel all the stiffness from a good night’s sleep leave your body as you stretch out your torso as far to the side as you can. Repeat with the opposite arm.
2nd Hour: Pencil Pinch
Sitting down for two hours isn’t always the most comfortable sensation. Now, it’s time to get to stretching those shoulders. All you have to do is roll back your shoulders until you feel the shoulder blades pinched together. Now, imagine there’s a pencil wedged between there. Don’t let the pencil fall!
3rd Hour: Neck Strengthener
This third stretch is a great way to keep your neck in great shape, especially if you’re already feeling tired by this time in the workday. Simply hold your face with your hands like you’re doing a two-handed facepalm (imagine your coworker making a terrible joke or your pet accidentally spilling your coffee). Push your forehead further into your hands while your hands resist the motion.
To do the reverse, hold the upper part of your neck where it meets the bottom of the head. Lean back while your hands push onto your neck. Do these for 30 seconds each, or more if necessary.
4th Hour: Ab Squeezes
This point in the workday probably means you’re nearing lunchtime, so it’s time to exercise those core muscles! The best part is you can do it during a meeting, when you’re walking to the bathroom, or when you’re caught in a chat at the breakroom. Simply squeeze your ab muscles as hard as you can. Hold the squeeze for 10 seconds, then release. Repeat as needed.
5th Hour: Bicep Curls
Have a few water bottles lying around? Grab two of them or hold one at a time to do weighted bicep curls perfect for the desk. These work the same way as regular bicep curls with weights. Seated upright, squeeze your arm as you bend at the elbow and the water bottle is parallel with your shoulder. Repeat with the other side.
6th Hour: Leg Raises
Another inconspicuous yet completely effective exercise is the leg raise. You can do it under your desk with your nosy co-workers being none the wiser. Simply stay seated in your chair while gripping both armrests for safety.
Keeping your upper body as upright as possible, try as hard as you can to lift your legs until they are straight out and parallel to the ground. If you can’t keep them straight out, stop once you feel a good stretch. Hold the pose for 2 seconds, then lower your legs and repeat 10 times.
7th Hour: Squats
You didn’t think you could end the work day without the squats, did you? Don’t worry, these killer exercises are not as terrible as they look. By this point in the workday, you’ve probably gotten through all of your tasks your boss has piled up. Now, your body deserves a break from all that sitting, so get up and get to squatting.
Use your desk chair as a marker. Stand with your legs more than hip-width apart and your torso straight. Using your body weight, slowly lower into a squat until your butt just barely touches the seat of the chair. Slowly move back up, keeping your core engaged all throughout. Repeat 10 times.
8th Hour: Arm & Calf Raises
The eighth hour has come, and we all know what this means: you’ve gotten to the end of a productive work day! Celebrate by stretching out your calves and arms like you’re doing a victory dance. With both arms in the air, stretch out your lower legs by going on tiptoes and then back down. Repeat 10-15 times on each side. Job well done!
Exercising at work is a wonderful investment towards your body’s long-term health. If you’re just getting started or find it difficult to stick to a routine, don’t worry. Exercising at the end of every hour is a great way to incorporate movement that isn’t too restricting or hard to follow through. It’s also a great way to mark each hour as a milestone, especially when you get sucked into your work and forget to take breaks.
If you’re someone who really gets engulfed in their work during the day, try setting an alarm every hour. That way, you won’t forget to do your exercises while still performing your duties for the day.
We hope this guide was helpful to you! Looking for different kinds of exercises? Why not try these brain exercises you can do during a lazy day at work? Check them out now.