black flat screen computer monitor on brown wooden desk
That swivel chair is perfect for oblique twists. Photo by TheStandingDesk

The DAO of Deskercise

“I’m chained to my desk all day. I don’t have time to work out!”

So not true. Introducing the “DAO of Deskercise”. You can exercise right at your desk and burn hundreds of extra calories all day. And you can preempt later body aches and pains from tech neck, wrist tension, and lower back compression. 

But how? Read on. 

Types of “desk exercise” AKA “deskercise”

There are different types of desk exercises you can do: standing, sitting, and slightly away from your desk while you are taking breaks during calls. Some of these you can do witth the camera on and no one will even notice. Some you may have to just go out of view or turn it off for a few seconds. And finally there are routines and exercises you can do when you have 5-10 minutes and you just want to get out of that afternoon slump.

How do you do deskercise if you have no privacy at your desk? You may be in a cube or a in a fishbowl office. OK. So maybe not the time for chair dips. BUT the playlist and summary I have included below has workouts and moves you can do with your legs underneath the desk, so unless somene is REALLY in your space, they cannot see. And you can always wait until some of your mates are at lunch, while you knock out a few moves.

My point is, when there is a will there is a way, and this post will help you find a way to stay active even if you literally cannot leave your desk!

You can find the complete Deskercise playlist of over 20 videos (and more will be added) on my DAOFitLife YouTube Channel:

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  1. Cardio: The above video from MadFit proves that you do not need that much space or equipment to get a great workout. You can use your chair to do push-ups, mountain climbers, hops, tricep dips, and even ab workouts. For more cardio that actually involves sitting in a chair, check out this video of a chair cardio workout by Carolin Jordin. Even the cardio movements require you to engage your abs. You can also work cardio into your desk routine by getting a treadmill desk – here are 9 of the top 2022 recomendations. You do not need a not of space to get a treadmill desk, like this one from Treadly. If you do not have the space or do not want to spend as much money, you can get an under desk cycling machine, or a stairstepper you can use with a stanidng desk, like in this video:
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  1. Lower abs: chair crunches, chair side bends, chair oblique twists as seen in this video by Hannah Milly. A chair oblique twist is as simple as sitting in a swivel chair with your hands sescured to your desk and twisting back and forth. Try it right now and tell me if you do not feel it in your abs! You can also do this in a non-swivel chair or on a sofa, as demonstrated here:
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  1. Upper body: chair tricep dips, arm pulses, arm circles, desk push-ups 
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  1. Lower body and abs: Chair squats, calf raises, lunges, chair bicycle twists, swivel chair oblique twists 

If you are doing any kind of weight training program, these exercises are great for stabilizing your core. Also, if you are practicing barbell squats, you definitely want to take advantage of chair squats because they aid you in making sure you have the right form of your hips and knees being at right angles, plus you have something to literally fall back on. 

You can find format coaching for each of these exercises in the following 3 additional blog posts: 

Desk stretching 

The best way to manage the pain from sitting is to attach it all day long. Doing these exercises, even when completely visible at your desk in an open space, will keep your muscles and joints limber and you will not feel so achy from sitting all day long. Below is a curated series of exercises for the main parts of your body exposed to pain and strain – your wrists, neck, shoulders and lower back.

  1. Wrist stretches – In this short video with Caroline Jordan. You can also take it up a notch and do this yoga video for stress relief.
  2. Triceps Stretch
  3. Neck and shoulder rolls and Neck stretches for pain
  4. Shoulder Stretch
  5. Seated or Standing Figure 4 (can also be done seated)
  6. Knee Hugging Glute Stretch 
  7. Back Stretch In Chair

Check out my complete playlist of “Deskercise” on the DAOFitLife YouTube Channel.

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