Being at work all day or just stuck sitting for extended periods of time is no excuse for skipping exercise. Simple and effective exercises can be done while at work or at home. The exercises demonstrated below can assist in increasing overall productivity, decreasing stress, and promoting a sense of wellbeing. They are appropriate for beginners, but shouldn’t be underestimated by experienced trainees either.


Exercises can be done alone or with a small group for about five to ten minutes. It is recommended to take a five-minute break every sixty minutes if you are at a desk. Also, consider using a stability or Swiss ball at your desk instead of a chair. This could improve your overall core strength.


Sample Workout


These exercises can all be done at your desk or home chair and can be done effectively and with ease when done daily. Your body will appreciate the strength moves and stretches. The body loves the benefits of movement. The following exercises are done seated unless noted.


  1. Lateral Neck Flexion: Simply flex your neck to the right and then to the left for a set of 10.
  2. Forward Neck Flexion: Flex your neck forward, drawing your chin toward your chest for a set of 10.
  3. Shoulder Rolls: Roll your shoulders forward for a set of 10 and then backwards for a set of 10.
  4. Leg Crossover Stretch: Cross your legs by bringing one knee over the other and then rotate your upper torso to the side of your top crossed leg. For example, if you cross your right leg over your left leg, rotate your torso to the right side using your left elbow against your right knee to help you turn that direction. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds. Do 2 sets of 5 repetitions on each side.
  5. Seated Leg Extension (Leg Kicks): Extend and kick out one leg in front of you for a set of 20. Your leg from the knee down should go from perpendicular to the floor to parallel and then back to perpendicular again. Next, do the other side for a set of 20.
  6. Single Leg Lifts: Extend one leg straight out in front you with your toes pointing up and keep it elevated and extended. Lift and hold the extended leg for a set of 20 then do the other side.
  7. Circle Leg Lifts: With one leg extended straight out in front of you, slightly point your toes forward and make small circles with your extended leg in one direction then reverse the direction for a set of 5-10 in the opposite direction.
  8. Triceps Chair Push Ups/Dips: Scoot towards the edge of the chair and keep your torso upright. Next, place each hand next to your outer thighs at the edge of your chair and your fingers curling over the edge. Keeping your hands in place on the chair, slowly walk your heels forward with bended knees until your backside is no longer in contact with the chair. Flexing your elbows, dip your torso straight downward then back up again until your elbows go straight. Remember to breathe while doing these. Consider 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
  9. Calf Raises: Calf raises can be done with the toes pointing forward, outward (like a duck), or inward (like a pigeon). While seated with your feet flat on the floor, back straight, and shoulders squared lift only your heels oɛ of the floor and contract your calves. Consider 2 sets of 10 each. These exercises will really help with lower extremity circulation.


For more chair exercises, join one of the S.E.A.T. (Sit, Exercise And Tone) classes offered at either COA location. Lowe Center classes are on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:45 – 10:30 a.m. and Front Street Crossing classes are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 – 10:45 a.m.



Joy Shreve, Certified COA Fitness Trainer