We all know we should move, stretch and exercise every day. But some days, we just can’t make it work – we’re stuck sitting in a chair at our desks all day. Then what? Do we just have to suffer through the pain and discomfort of an aching body? 

Good news: You don’t have to. There’s a better way.

Thankfully, after 25 years of the desk jockey life, I no longer have too many of those days, but I sure know how they feel. Ugh! So I thought I’d put together this helpful little list of my top 5 go-to exercises you can do right at your desk – whether that desk is in your home office, in a fancy corner office, or in a tiny cubicle.


My 5 go-to exercises


Side Stretch

Reach your right arm down by your side, lift your left arm by your ear. Lengthen and side bend. Come to center and repeat to the other side to complete 1 repetition.

Watch: Seated side stretch

Chest Opener

Interlace your hands behind your head. Exhale – without pulling on your head, bring the elbows forward towards your knees as you round the spine. As you inhale, uncurl the spine, let the elbows become wide and lift your chest to the ceiling. (Depending on your chair, you can backbend slightly over the top of the backrest – but be careful not to shift your weight so far back you topple over!)

Watch: Chest opener

Chair Twist

Sit tall in your chair and inhale. Exhale as you keep your hips still, place your hands on the chair seat or the armrest, and gently twist your torso to that side. Slowly untwist and repeat to the other side to complete 1 repetition.

Watch: Seated Chair twist

Midback Stretch

Place your thumbs on top of the bony bits right above your buttocks. Gently press in as you lift the chest and lengthen into a gentle backbend. 

Watch: Midback stretch


Sit tall, lean forward slightly, and alternate raising your left and right heel off the ground.

Watch: “Running” in a chair

Speed it up a little to get your calves moving (which also increases blood flow, which in turn makes you more alert and helps prevent blood from pooling in your legs!). If you want to challenge yourself, hover an inch above your chair seat! This will wake you up faster than that fifth cup of coffee – plus, you. might be able to get some sleep tonight.


Now, you have a backup plan for the next time you’re stuck at your desk!


If you’re looking for more stretchy stuff like this, you might like my 10-minute Tune-Up sessions or a 30-minute full-length Stretch, Breathe & Move class.


See you in the (virtual) studio!


Eva @ Sunroom Pilates – A Brighter Place