Exercises you can do while sitting at your desk

Whether working from home or in an office, a lot of people spend most of the day at their desks.  However, sitting at a desk all day is not good for the body. If you must sit for a long period of time, here are some simple exercises you can do for all parts of the body to improve your health and fitness.


  • Hand stretches: Make fists and tense the muscles in your hands, then relax. Next, spread and stretch your fingers as wide as possible, and then relax.
  • Hand grips: Get a stress ball or a hand grip. Squeeze it to strengthen forearm muscles and relieve hand stress.
  • Wrist rolls: Regularly rolling your wrists helps prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and improve blood circulation.


  • Reach and stretch: Reach forward, to the sides and above your head to stretch your arms. Simple stretches help prevent stiffness. They also help relax the muscles and, in turn, prevent pinched nerves and other complications from tense muscles.
  • Shoulder rolls: Roll your shoulders forward and then roll them backward. This helps relieve the tension in the shoulder and upper back muscles.
  • Add some weight: Take two filled water bottles or two books and put one in each hand. With your arms starting at your sides, slowly lift the items up, holding your arms out to the sides. Hold for a few seconds and then lower slowly. Repeat this at least 10 times. This will strengthen your upper arms and shoulders.

Feet and legs

  • Stand and stretch: Get up from your chair at least every half hour to stretch or walk around. This will help prevent blood clots from developing in your legs. (Blood clots are very common among middle-aged workers who sit for long periods of time.)
  • Raise your toes: Keep your heels on the ground and lift your toes. This helps blood circulation to the feet. While it works well in a seated position, it works best if you can stand.
  • Calf stretches: Put both legs in front of you while sitting. Lift your legs on the balls of the feet and set them down. Rest when your calves are tired, and then repeat after about 10 minutes. Do three repetitions to exercise the calf muscles.


  • Neck rolls: Drop your chin and slowly and carefully roll your neck. Raise the chin up and slowly bend your neck to each side, trying to touch your ear to your shoulder without raising your shoulder. This helps lessen tension and neck strain.
  • Just shrug: Pull your shoulders up to your ears, and then release the tension and drop your shoulders. Do this at least three times to relieve tension in the shoulders and neck.


  • Tone your abs: While sitting, take a deep breath in, suck in your stomach, hold the position and then release slowly. Repeat several times.
  • Reverse stretch: People who sit at a desk or work on a computer all day tend to hunch forward. Take time to counter that position with backward stretches. Open your arms wide, rotate your wrists so both thumbs point up and backward, and then pull your shoulders back. You should feel the muscles stretch in your shoulders and upper chest.
  • Twist: Sit up straight and place your right arm behind your right hip. Twist to the right and hold. Do this again with your left arm and hip. You should feel the muscles on your sides and back stretch.

Incorporating exercises into your daily routine while sitting at your desk can have numerous benefits for both your physical and mental well-being. Whether it's stretching, gentle resistance exercises, or even simply taking short movement breaks, these exercises can help combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting and improve your overall health. By utilizing these desk exercises, you can seize the opportunity to stay fit and active throughout the day, even during a busy work schedule. Your body will thank you, and you'll notice an increase in productivity and energy levels.

Equitable is the brand name of the retirement and protection subsidiaries of Equitable Holdings, Inc., including Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (Equitable Financial) (NY, NY), Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company of America (Equitable America), an AZ stock company with an administrative office located in Charlotte, NC, and Equitable Distributors, LLC.  Equitable Advisors is the brand name of Equitable Advisors, LLC (member FINRA, SIPC) (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI and TN).
GE-6441667.1 (02/2024) (Exp. 02/2026)