How to exercise properly when you work at a desk job

The sedentary lifestyle is a dangerous byproduct of modern innovations. Many of us have desk jobs that require us to sit in front of a screen for at least eight to nine hours every five days a week. That combined with an average of seven hours of sleep a day brings physical activity to a dismal state.

It goes without saying that you need a good diet and some physical activity to stay healthy. However, after sitting at your desk 9 to 5 and commuting back to home (that too sitting in most cases), it is difficult to get any exercise. This sedentary lifestyle is making us lazy, fat, and causing diseases. The World Health Organisation says 3.2 million deaths in the world are a result of lack of physical activity.

Even if you join a gym, there is little or no motivation to go. On top of that many people lack proper workout clothes even though they are relatively cheaper to buy thanks to coupons. The main question is how to get some exercise with this kind of lifestyle without spending hours at the gym?

What people fail to realise is that you do not necessarily need to exercise 4 to 5 times a week to be active. Even a little bit of exercise and some changes in your routine can deliver ample physical activity to keep your body healthy.

Are you sitting wrong?

The first thing you need to do is work on your sitting posture. If you cannot help reduce the time you need to sit at your desk, you can at least try to sit the right way. If you feel tired and often suffer back or neck pain, your sitting posture is the culprit.

If you slouch a lot and keep your head forward, it gets misaligned from the spine. Your head is heavy so moving it farther away from the spine makes it even heavier for your neck. Your chair should be comfortable and have the right height. Here is how you improve posture:

  • Feet should be flat on the floor
  • Knees and hips should be perpendicular (90 degrees)
  • Keep the screen at eye level so you do not have to lean your head
  • Press the lower back towards the seat
  • Keep your back straight

Sitting in a wrong posture for hours is the perfect recipe for neck strain, disc compression, nerve pains, and even asthma.

Exercising at your desk

Who says you can only work out at the gym or run on the streets. There are so many small exercises that can be done right at your desk. The time you take for some power nap or just looking at your Instagram can be used to get some exercise.


The easiest thing you can do is stretch. It is so easy, quick, and instantly makes you feel fresh. There are many quick stretching acts that you can do sitting at your desk.

  • Stretch your neck by moving your right ear towards the shoulder. Then repeat that with your left year and shoulder. Do this two to three times.
  • Stretch your arms as high as you can.
  • Drop the chin towards your chest and then take it all the way back as far as you can.
  • To stretch out your glutes, put your right ankle on left knee and then press the right knee a few times. Repeat the process with your left knee.
  • Pull your knee up and bring it to your chest while holding it with your arms. Alternate between the right and left knee a few times.


If you are thinking how can you do push-ups on your office floor, stop thinking and start doing. Push-ups are a great exercise that targets various muscles and gets your heart rate up. Just do some push-ups right next to your chair and get on with your work.


Want to take your desk exercise to the next level? Squats are the best you can do. Contrary to popular belief, squats are actually a whole body exercise. Just a few squats can target your core and legs, and give you the right amount of physical activity to get your blood pumping.

Shoulder press

Just get a book or folder and keep it at your shoulder’s length. Now, raise it all the way up over your head. Do it at least ten times. This will give your arms and chest some good exercise.


Lunges are great too as you can easily do them at your desk. Simply stand still then move one leg forward while bending your other knee down. Do ten times with each leg.

Increase physical activity in your life

Physical activity is not limited to aerobics, yoga or weightlifting; you can get a decent amount of physical activities simply by making some better choices. Instead of getting lunch delivered at your desk. How about walking and getting it yourself?

Since you know that you sit a lot, you should try to pack in as much simple physical activity as you can in your day.  Here is what you can do:

Take the stairs: Any chance you get to walk some stairs, grab it. It will give your legs some workout and increase your heart rate.

Walk more: If you live at a walking distance, walk to your workplace and back home. Avoid driving or taking public transport. You will probably get home faster-considering traffic is terrible during rush hours.

Take small walk breaks: When at your desk, take frequent walk breaks. Just simply go around the floor walking at your usual pace.

Consume calories according to your physical activity: On average, an adult person should consume 2000 calories a day. However, those who have a sedentary lifestyle may want to cut down a bit. Factor in your current weight, exercise, and food intake to come up with the right number you should consume.

Bottom line

Just because you need to bury your head in a computer all day does not mean you should just give up on exercising. No physical activity leads to illnesses and makes you gain unnecessary weight. However, you can counter this problem by getting some exercise at your desk and by making healthy choices in your lifestyle.

Use your weekends to do some more intense physical activity like yoga or running and if you are looking to buy your workout wear there are many stores which offer a massive discount on workout wear. You can grab your piece at a discounted rate by using store’s coupon codes.  Remember that nothing is more important than your health and fitness.

Emma Thomas
Emma Thomas
I'm a part-time digital marketing consultant, part-time travel blogger, and a full-time dreamer. I have three passions in my life, traveling, social media and writing.
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