11 Leg Exercises to Do At Your Desk
Today’s fast-paced lifestyles make it difficult to find enough time to exercise and stay healthy. Most people end up chained to their desk the whole day, and have barely enough strength to commute and get to bed before starting the whole rigmarole anew the next day. Like with any other goal in life, it is important to start where you are, and do whatever you can with what you have. If you spend your day seated at your desk at work, there are a few exercises that you can do in the minutes you have between tasks. Of course, these exercises will not make up for a full blown workout routine, but it is a start.
Sitting at the desk for long stretches of time may lead to a number of illnesses and issues such as stiffness, injuries caused by repetitive motions, sore glutes, and aching knees. These are 11 simple leg exercises to do at your desk that can be accomplished without working up too much of a sweat while you are in your work clothes.
1. Flex your hips.
A hip flexion is a simple leg stretch that can help strengthen your legs and hips. While sitting in your chair, simply raise your left foot a few inches. Ensure that your knee remains bent at a right angle and does not fold at the joint. Hold this position as long as you can. Switch legs and repeat. Do 15-20 repetitions of hip flexions.
2. Raise your toes.
As the name implies, toe raises require you to raise your toes off the ground while ensuring that your heels are firmly planted on the floor. This simple stretch can help your ankles open up so they do not get sore. You can do this exercise while sitting or standing.
3. Do some lunges.
There are plenty of leg exercises that require little space and no additional equipment. Get off your chair, and do some lunges to open up your hips and stretch your leg muscles. You can also do lunges while you are walking – just step ahead as wide as you can and lunge forward. You can also do variations of lunges such as the backward lunge.
4. Tone your calf muscles.
Calf raises are another convenient option when it comes to leg exercises. They help tone and build calf muscles, promote ankle stability, and improve your balance. Stand up and rest your hands against your desk or the wall for support. Transfer all your weight to your toes as you raise your heels off the ground. Stand on your tiptoes for a few seconds, and then return to the original position. You can also do a seated calf raise.
5. Lift your legs.
Improve blood circulation and strengthen your leg muscles while you are seated at your desk by doing individual leg lifts. Sit up straight and hold on to the arms of the chair for support. Extend one leg, and raise it such that it is straight and pointed away from your body. Hold this position for a count of five, and then alternate legs. Complete 10 repetitions per leg.
6. Do ankle rotations.
Rotating your ankles boosts both the strength and flexibility of your feet. This helps reduce your risk of ankle sprains. Simply point your toes forward, and rotate your ankle clockwise and then anti-clockwise for five seconds each. Repeat for the other ankle. Do at least five sets of 10 repetitions in both directions.
7. Do hovering leg raises.
Change up your regular leg raise routine by practicing the hovering leg raise which works on your legs as well as your core. Sit upright in your chair, raise both legs together such that they are parallel to the ground, then lower your legs and hover a couple of inches above the floor. Hold the position as long as you can, and then release before doing it again.
8. Squeeze your thighs.
This simple exercise can help you tone and strengthen your thighs while you remain seated at your desk. All you need is a small pliant ball that you can keep at your desk. Place the ball between your knees, squeeze as hard as possible and hold till a count of five, and release the tension without dropping the ball. Repeat this exercises 15 times.
9. Raise your knees.
Similar to leg raises, knee raises can help stretch your hip muscles, and strengthen your abs and thighs. While seated in your chair, keep your knees bent and lift one leg up as close to your chest as possible. Hold this position for five seconds, and lower the leg gently. Do the same with the other leg.
10. Use your office chair to do squats.
If your chair has wheels, push it up against a wall so it does not move. Stand in front of the chair and squat down as if you are trying to sit down on the chair. Stop before you reach the seat, and then stand back up. Ensure that your knees are not pushing out ahead of your toes as you may injure yourself otherwise.
11. Tap your feet football-style.
While sitting at your desk, place your feet flat on the floor. Begin tapping your feet in place as fast as possible, mimicking the football hustle. Tap your feet rapidly for 30 seconds, take a pause, and continue for another 30 seconds. Work in this exercise as many times as possible during the day.
Get Moving to Feel Great
A sedentary lifestyle that includes sitting in one place for an extended period of time has been directly linked to an increased risk of diabetes, back pain, cramps, muscular disfigurement, and poor posture. Choose the exercises that best suit your daily schedule – start with what you have, and where you are. And just get moving!