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Office Worker Exercise Routines for Those Who Sit All Day

In today’s work culture, it’s not uncommon to find ourselves glued to our office chairs, working non-stop on our computers, and in the process, neglecting our physical well-being. However, research has shown that too much sitting can have detrimental effects on our health and productivity. 

That’s why we’ve put together these office exercise routines to help you incorporate effective movements and stretches into your daily routine, even in the middle of a sedentary work environment.

Follow along and get those bodies moving!


How Much Exercise Do Office Workers Need?

Office Worker Exercise Routines

Office workers need a sufficient amount of exercise to counterbalance the effects of prolonged sitting. While the exact number may vary, experts generally suggest aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity workouts per week. This can be broken down into smaller increments throughout the week to make it more manageable.


How to Exercise With a 9-5 Job

Office Worker Exercise Routines

Even with a 9-5 job, you can stay active during your breaks and after your work. Use your lunch break to go for a walk or perform simple exercises like stretching or bodyweight movements.

Taking short breaks throughout the day to stand up, stretch, or do quick exercises can also be beneficial to your mind and heart health. Invite your co-workers to make it more enjoyable and create a supportive environment for staying active.


Exercise Routines for Office Workers

If you’re ready to break free from the confines of your office chair and make positive changes to your daily work life, make these workouts part of your routine now.

Sitting Exercises

Sitting exercises

Triceps Dips

  • Sit on the edge of a chair or bench with your hands gripping the edge, fingers facing forward.
  • Walk your feet forward and lift your pelvis off the seat, supporting your weight with your arms.
  • Take your elbows in a slight bend to lower your body down, aiming for a 90-degree angle at your elbows.
  • Push through your hands to extend your limbs, returning to the opening position.
  • Aim for 10-12 repetitions, focusing on engaging your triceps and maintaining proper form.

Rock the Boat

  • Start by sitting on a chair, maintaining a straight posture.
  • Slowly shift your weight to one side, lifting the opposite foot slightly off the ground.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds, engaging your core muscles.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat the movement on another side.
  • Aim for 10-12 repetitions on each side, gradually increasing as your strength improves.

Seated Bicycle Crunches

  • Sit on a chair with your feet level on the ground.
  • Place your hands lightly behind your head, elbows out to the sides.
  • Lift your right hinge joints towards your trunk while simultaneously rotating your upper body to bring your left elbow towards your right joints.
  • Return to the start position and repeat the movement on the other side.
  • Perform 10-12 repetitions per side, focusing on controlled twisting motions.

Seated Windshield Wipers

  • Sit on the edge of a chair with your legs straight and feet off the ground.
  • Place your hands lightly behind you for support.
  • Engage your core and slowly rotate your legs from side to side, mimicking the motion of windshield wipers.
  • Aim for 12-15 controlled rotations, focusing on stability and engaging your oblique muscles, then switch sides.

Eagle Arms

  • Begin by sitting or standing tall with your arms straight and extended out to the sides.
  • Cross your right arm over your left, bending both elbows.
  • Bring your palms together, if possible, or reach for opposite shoulders.
  • Hold this position for 15-20 seconds, feeling the stretch in your upper back and shoulders.
  • Release and repeat the stretch with your left arm crossed over your right.

Standing Exercises

Standing exercises

Torso Twist

  • Stand with your feet wide apart as your shoulder, keeping your knees slightly bent.
  • Extend your arms in front of you at shoulder height, interlacing your fingers.
  • Rotate your torso to the right, keeping your hips stable and facing forward.
  • Hold for a moment, feeling the stretch in your oblique muscles.
  • Slowly return to the start position and repeat the movement on the left side.
  • Perform 10-12 repetitions on each side, focusing on controlled and fluid motions.

Arm Circles

  • Position tall with your feet wide apart as your shoulder.
  • Extend your arms straight out to the sides at shoulder level.
  • Begin making small circles with your arms, gradually increasing the size of the circles.
  • After 15-20 seconds, reverse the direction of the circles.
  • Continue the arm circles for a total of 30-45 seconds, focusing on maintaining proper form and engaging your shoulders.

Jumping Jacks

  • Stand tall with your feet together and arms by your sides.
  • Jump into the air, simultaneously spreading your legs out to the sides and raising your arms overhead.
  • Jump back to the starting position, bringing your legs together and lowering your arms.
  • Continue performing jumping jacks for 30-60 seconds, focusing on controlled and rhythmic movements.

Half-Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

  • Begin in a half-kneeling position with your right hinge joint on the ground and your left foot forward.
  • Engage your core and gently shift your mass forward, keeping your back straight.
  • You should feel a stretch in the front of your right hip.
  • Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds, then switch legs and repeat on the other side.
  • Perform the stretch 2-3 times on each side, aiming for increased flexibility and mobility in your hip flexors.

Side Lunge

  • Stand tall with your feet wider than hip-width apart.
  • Take a step to the right, shifting your body weight to one foot.
  • Bend your right knee and lower your body into a lunge position, keeping your left limb straight.
  • Launch through your foot to return to the opening position.
  • Repeat the movement on the left side, alternating between sides.
  • Aim for 10-12 repetitions on each side, gradually increasing your range of motion.

Wrists and Fingers Stretch

  • Extend one arm in front of you with the palm facing down.
  • With your other hand, gently pull the fingers and thumb backward to stretch the wrist and fingers.
  • You can also place your hands, palm faced down, on a desk. Then lean forward, 
  • Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds and repeat on the other arm and hand.
  • Perform this stretch for both wrists and fingers to alleviate tension and improve flexibility.

Hamstring Stretch

  • Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Extend one limb forward while keeping it straight, resting your heel on an elevated surface, such as a chair or step.
  • Hinge forward at the hips, maintaining a straight back and feeling a gentle stretch in the back of your fully extended limb.
  • Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds and switch to the other leg. That’s one rep.
  • Repeat the stretch 2-3 times on each limb, aiming for gradual improvement in flexibility.

Chest Stretch

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your shoulders relaxed.
  • Interlace your fingers behind your back, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Gently lift your arms upward, feeling a stretch in your chest and shoulders.
  • Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds, focusing on deep breathing.
  • Release and repeat the stretch 2-3 times, aiming for increased flexibility and mobility in the chest.

Leg Squats

  • Position with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly outward.
  • Lower your body into a squat position, pushing your hips back and bending your hinge joints.
  • Keep your trunk lifted and your weight in your heels.
  • Press through your heels to return to the opening position.
  • Aim for 10-12 repetitions, focusing on proper form and engaging your limb muscles.

Lying Down Exercises

Lying Down Exercises

Jackknife Sit-Up

  • Lie flat on your back with your arms extended overhead and limbs straight.
  • Simultaneously lift your upper torso and limbs, reaching your hands toward your toes.
  • Contract your abs and pause briefly at the top of the movement.
  • Slowly lower your torso and limbs back to the starting position.
  • Aim for 10-12 repetitions, focusing on controlled and smooth movements.

Push-Up

  • Start in a plank position, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower your body towards the ground, keeping your elbows close to your sides.
  • Press through your palms to extend your limbs and return to the start position.
  • If needed, modify the workout by performing push-ups on your knees or against a stable surface.
  • Aim for 8-10 repetitions, gradually increasing as your upper body strength improves.

Side Plank

  • Lie on your side with your legs extended and stacked on top of each other.
  • Place your elbow directly beneath your shoulder, propping your torso up.
  • Keep your core tight and lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from head to toe.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, focusing on maintaining proper alignment.
  • If needed, you can modify the exercise by bending your bottom hinge joint and placing it on the ground for additional support.
  • Switch to the opposite elbow and repeat the side plank, aiming for equal time on each side.

Bridge

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart.
  • Place your arms alongside your body, palms facing down.
  • Engage your core and glutes, and lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds, squeezing your glutes at the top.
  • Gently lower your hips back to the starting position.
  • Aim for 10-12 repetitions, gradually increasing the number as your strength and posterior chain improves.

Bent-Knee Stretch

  • Sit on the ground with your limbs extended in front of you.
  • Bend one knee and bring it towards your trunk, hugging it with both arms.
  • Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds, feeling the gentle tension in your glutes and lower back.
  • Switch limbs and repeat the stretch with the other limb, aiming for equal time on each side to promote symmetry and flexibility.

Leg Lifts

  • Lie flat on your back with your legs straight.
  • Lift one leg off the ground, keeping it straight, and raise it as high as you comfortably can.
  • Slowly lower the leg back down without touching the ground and repeat the movement with the opposite leg.
  • Alternate between limbs and aim for 12-15 leg lifts per side, focusing on engaging your core and hip muscles.

Hip Extensions with Reach

  • Start by getting down on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your joints under your hips.
  • Engage your core and lift your right leg straight back, keeping it in line with your body.
  • At the same time, reach your left arm forward, extending it in line with your body.
  • Hold this position for a moment, then lower your limb and arm back down.
  • Repeat the movement with your left limb and right arm.
  • Perform 10-12 hip extensions with reach on each side, focusing on stability and controlled movements.

How Much Exercise a Day With a Desk Job

With desk jobs, even just a few minutes of activity here and there can make a difference. One way is to make use of a standing desk, which allows you to alternate between sitting and standing positions. Standing engages different muscle groups and can help improve posture.

You can also try swapping your office chair for a swivel chair, which gives more room for movement and can engage your core and lower body while sitting.


Which Exercise Is Best For Office Workers?

When it comes to the best exercises for office workers, those that target multiple muscle groups and can be performed within a limited space are ideal. For example, bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks only require a small floor area.

You can also opt for resistance training with lightweight dumbbells, resistance bands, or heavyweight when you can, as this will significantly help strengthen your body and boost your energy level. Exercises such as biceps curls and tricep dips can be performed discreetly at your desk during short breaks, providing a quick workout to engage your upper body muscles.


Final Note

By incorporating a regular workout routine, whether it’s during your work breaks or after office hours, you can combat the negative effects of all-day sitting, maintain good posture, alleviate knee pain, burn more calories, and enjoy the numerous health benefits that come with an active lifestyle.

The key is to find opportunities to move and stay active throughout the day, even if it means breaking up your entire routine into small and manageable workouts.