Employee Wellbeing
August 28, 2023

10 Quick Desk Exercises to Relieve Stress During the Workday

Looking for a way to move more during the work day? These exercises can be completed at your desk.

Hilda Bahringer
4 minutes

In the hustle and bustle of a busy workday, it's easy to find yourself feeling stressed and tense. The good news is that you don't need a lot of time or fancy equipment to alleviate that stress. Here are 10 quick and simple desk exercises that you can do right at your workspace to help relieve stress and improve your overall well-being.


Stress is a common part of modern work life, but it doesn't have to consume you. Incorporating short and effective exercises into your work routine can help you manage stress and maintain a more positive mindset.

The Importance of Desk Exercises

Sitting at a desk for extended periods can lead to physical discomfort and mental fatigue. Desk exercises offer a way to counteract these negative effects, boost circulation, and release tension.

10 Quick Desk Exercises to Try

  1. Neck Stretches: Gently tilt your head to the side, holding for 15 seconds on each side. Then, lower your chin to your chest and hold for another 15 seconds.
  2. Shoulder Shrugs: Lift your shoulders towards your ears, hold for a few seconds, and then release. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
  3. Seated Leg Lifts: Sit up straight and lift one leg off the ground, extending it out straight. Hold for a few seconds, then lower. Alternate legs for 10 reps each.
  4. Desk Push-Ups: Place your hands on the edge of your desk, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your chest towards the desk and push back up. Perform 15 reps.
  5. Wrist Stretches: Extend one arm in front of you, palm facing down. Use your opposite hand to gently pull your fingers towards you for a wrist stretch. Repeat on both sides.
  6. Seated Spinal Twist: Sit up tall, twist your upper body to one side, and hold the back of your chair with one hand. Hold for 15 seconds and switch sides.
  7. Ankle Rotations: Lift one foot off the ground and rotate your ankle clockwise and then counterclockwise. Switch to the other ankle and repeat.
  8. Hamstring Stretch: Sit at the edge of your chair, extend one leg straight out, and lean forward slightly to feel a stretch in the back of your leg. Hold for 15 seconds on each leg.
  9. Deep Breathing: Close your eyes and take a deep breath in, expanding your diaphragm. Exhale slowly. Repeat for a few breaths to relax your mind.
  10. Seated March: Sit tall and lift your knees alternatively, as if you're marching in place while seated. Aim for 20 marches on each leg.


Taking a few minutes throughout your workday to perform these quick desk exercises can make a significant difference in how you feel. Not only will they help alleviate stress and tension, but they'll also boost your energy and focus, making you more productive and ready to tackle your tasks with a clear mind.

Remember, self-care is essential, and these simple exercises offer a convenient way to prioritize your well-being even during the busiest workdays.

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