5 Desk Exercises You Can Do at Any Coworking Space

woman stretching at her coworking space

This is a guest post for the MELD Coworking blog written by George Chiang.

As many of us slowly return to our favorite coworking space while following all the safety and social distancing protocols, physical exercise is one health advice that often falls by the wayside. Excuses aside, even if your coworking space comes with a gym, most of us are still too hesitant to venture into one just yet.

Luckily, there are plenty of desk exercises that can be done right at the desk without attracting too much attention. And while these routines are simple, studies show that just 2 minutes of movement every hour can yield tremendous results.

With that said, here are 5 of my favorite exercises to do at the workplace, including a coworking space.

1. Overhead Shoulder Stretch

The overhead shoulder stretch helps put your back into alignment. You can do this stretch while standing or sitting in your chair.

  • Start with your body facing forward.
  • Raise your right arm straight up in the air, palm facing forward, then bend it at the elbow.
  • Use your left hand to grab onto your right elbow. 
  • Pull your right arm towards your left side and hold it for 5 seconds. You should feel this in your arm, especially your obliques.
  • Follow these instructions to repeat on your left side.
  • Repeat this as many times as needed to release tension. 

2. Seated Back Bend

This stretch is designed to help prevent the rounding of your back shoulders due to sitting for long periods of time. This stretch is in fact best done while sitting in your chair.

  • Move to the edge of your chair and sit up straight.
  • Place your arms slightly behind you and use your hands to grab the edges of the chair.
  • While keeping your arms straight, press down through your hands, and arch your back and neck.
  • With every exhale, bend backwards a little more.
  • Return to your starting position and repeat on your left side.
  • Do this as many times as needed to feel a release of tension in this area.

Another variation of this exercise can be done standing up as well.

3. The Invisible Chair

This stretch works your full body, including your legs.

  • Start by giving yourself enough room for this exercise. You will want to be able to touch your desk and chair without crowding.
  • Stand up straight, facing your desk.
  • Stretch your arms straight out and parallel to the ground.
  • Bend your knees and start to lower yourself down to your chair. Keep your arms out in front of you.
  • Once you feel the front part of your chair seat touch your bum, stop your downward movement. Hold this position for a few seconds. 
  • Begin to rise back up to your starting positions slowly. Do 5 repetitions of this exercise.

4. Neck Roll

This exercise deals with stretching out the neck and reducing muscle strain and tension in that area. You can stay seated for this stretch.

  • Start by sitting straight up in your chair.
  • Lower your chin and have it meet your chest. 
  • Start by rolling your head in a complete circle, going to your right first. Do this for about 10 seconds.
  • Repeat the exercise going the other direction.
  • Do this as many times as needed to alleviate stress and tension in this area. 

5. Downward Facing Dog Stretch

This position is excellent for stretching out your back and chest muscles. You can do this while sitting at your desk.

  • Move your chair far enough away from your desk to ensure you don’t hit your head doing the stretch.
  • Ensure your feet are flat on the floor. 
  • Raise your arms straight up in the air and have your palms facing the direction of your desk.
  • Slowly bend over until your palms touch your desk.
  • Hold this pose for 10 seconds, then slowly rise back to your starting position.
  • Do this as many times as needed to relieve tension.

About the Author

George is a certified ergonomist and senior editor at Ergonomic Trends. You can find him hitting the gym or the yoga studio when he’s not working hard at a cafe or coworking space.