The Insider’s Guide to Healthy Hawaii: 5 Desk Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

Stay fit at your 9 to 5.

Medically reviewed in June 2022

Working is bad for my health.

As a writer, I spend hours at my desk. Hunching over my computer for hours puts stress on my neck, shoulders and back. Typing at the keyboard puts me at risk of finger, wrist and forearm injury, and sitting all day can lead to muscle atrophy.

Studies show that sitting has become the new smoking. Sitting too long can shorten our lives.

Luckily, I work with Ash Tsuji, our designated workplace wellness champion. Tsuji reminds us to get up from our desks every hour for a short break to stretch or do a simple “deskercise.” These quick exercises only take a minute and it is always time well spent. When I’m done, my body and mind feel great and doing these fun activities with co-workers promotes a sense of community and holds us accountable.

If you work at a desk all day, be a wellness ambassador for yourself and your co-workers. Try these simple deskercises in the office. If you don’t work in an office, try them at home during commercial breaks or in your hotel room while traveling.

Desk pushups
Place your hands shoulder-width apart on your desk, coming into a standing plank position. Inhale as you lower down and exhale as you push up. Do 10 repetitions.

Chair dips
Stand in front of your chair and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the seat. Lower down with your body positioned close to the chair. Inhale as you lower down and exhale as you push up. Do 10 repetitions.

Wall squats
Stand with your back to a wall and lower down so your knees are at a 90-degree angle. You should be able to see your toes over your knees. Hold for 30 seconds.

Calf raises
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and rise up onto your toes. Squeeze your calves and hold for a few seconds. Do 10 repetitions

Seated crossed-leg stretch
Place one ankle over the opposite knee, creating a figure four. Push down gently on your top leg for a few seconds. Switch legs and repeat.

When you’re doing these exercises, keep your back straight, abs engaged and shoulders relaxed. Proper form is important for injury prevention. If you feel pain doing an exercise, skip it.

This content originally appeared on Well-Being Hawaii.

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