Justin Tang • December 19, 2023

Are you spending most of your time at work sitting? Having back pains? Is your posture getting worse? You're not alone.

Did you know? Office workers, on average, spend about three-quarters of their work day sitting and an additional two-thirds of their time outside of work. That's a lot of time sitting, which can negatively impact your health and well-being.

Let’s explore these top 5 exercises that are perfect in small spaces and professionals with a busy work schedule: world's greatest stretch, hip stretches, standing leg raises, wall-assisted pushups, and high knees.

What are the Negative Impacts?

Office chair back pain
Photo by: sorapop

Did you know? Sitting for a prolonged period can have several negative impacts on your health and well-being, such as: 

  • Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases 

  • Muscle Degeneration and Weakness 

  • Weight Gain and Obesity 

  • Musculoskeletal Issues 

  • Risk of Type 2 Diabetes 

  • Mental Health Impact 

  • Decreased Lifespan

  • Poor Circulation 

To help mitigate these risks, here are the top 5 exercises down below:

1. World's Greatest Stretch


  • Relieves Desk-Bound Stiffness: Ideal for loosening up tight muscles from sitting.

  • Boosts Energy Levels: Increases circulation, refreshing the body and mind.

  • Enhances Focus: Improved blood flow aids in better concentration.

How to Do It:

  1. Find Space: Use a small open area in your office.

  2. Start in a Half-Kneel: Begin in a lunge position, with one foot forward and the other knee on the ground.

  3. Rotate and Reach: Twist your upper body towards your front knee, extending the same side arm upwards.

  4. Hold and Switch: Hold for 15-20 seconds, then switch sides.

2. Hip Stretches


  • Combats Sitting Posture: Counteracts the effects of prolonged sitting.

  • Reduces Tension: Alleviates tension in the hips and lower back.

  • Increases Mobility: Improves flexibility for better movement throughout the day.

How to Do It:

  1. Use Your Chair: Sit on the edge of your office chair.

  2. Cross and Lean: Cross one ankle over the opposite knee, gently leaning forward.

  3. Hold and Switch: Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch legs.

3. Standing Leg Raise


  • Strengthens Legs: Targets muscles weakened by long periods of sitting.

  • Improves Circulation: Enhances blood flow in the legs.

  • Quick and Efficient: Can be done in a short break without needing to change clothes.

How to Do It:

  • Stand by Your Desk: Use your desk for balance if needed.

  • Lift and Lower: Slowly raise one leg to the side, hold for a few seconds, and lower.

  • Repeat: Do 10-15 repetitions on each side.

4. Wall Assisted Push-Ups


  • Upper Body Activation: Engages arms, chest, and shoulders, often neglected in desk jobs.

  • Energizes Body: A quick way to re-energize during a slump.

  • Space-Efficient: Requires only a wall, making it ideal for small offices.

How to Do It:

  1. Find a Wall: Stand facing a wall, arms-length away.

  2. Push and Return: Perform a pushup against the wall, then return to the starting position.

  3. Repeat: Aim for 10-20 repetitions.

5. High Knees


  • Cardio Boost: Elevates heart rate for a quick cardio session.

  • Engages Core: Strengthens abdominal muscles.

  • Breaks Monotony: A great way to break up long periods of sitting.

How to Do It:

  1. Stand Up: Make sure you have a bit of space around you.

  2. Lift Knees: Jog in place, lifting your knees high.

  3. Keep Going: Continue for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

In Conclusion

Besides walking, incorporating these exercises into your daily routine can greatly improve your posture, reduce discomfort, and enhance overall well-being. It's a small investment of time with a significant health benefits and quality of life. Remember, consistency is key, and it's important to listen to your body and adjust as needed. Stay active and keep it going!