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Desk-ercise: Staying Active While Working from Home

Gyms might be closed but your desk is open. There are lots of ways to squeeze a little more movement into your working day.
Published 24 Mar 2020
Updated 9 Dec 2022
4 min read
Desk-ercise: Staying Active While Working from Home

More than ever, people are concerned about their immunity. In light of COVID-19, you might be thinking more about your immune system. Is it in the best shape it can be?

Exercise improves your immunity – do it right here at your desk

There’s something you can do. Right here, right now. Boost your immune system with a little desk exercise. Those with good immunity are better equipped to fight off illness.

Research has shown that exercise, on top of many other factors, has a positive impact on immunity.

There are a few reasons for this phenomenon:

  1. It makes you less stressed. Studies show that you’re more likely to get sick if you’re stressed. Exercise is one method of combating this.
  2. It is thought to help to flush out your airways and lungs.
  3. Means your antibodies and white blood cells circulate more rapidly. This may mean diseases are better detected and prevented.
  4. Raises your body temperature which is thought to help your body fight off infections.

So, it looks like there are plenty of reasons to exercise for the sake of your immune system.

Get moving: at your desk

COVID-19 might be here – but many of us still have work to do. If you’re working from home, you are probably spending most of your day sitting down.

Whether you’re at a desk or a pseudo desk (i.e kitchen table), you can still get some immune-boosting exercise.

Here are our favourite deskercises!


Think of the Toe-Tap like knee-ups, but for your calves. Sitting at your desk, lift the toes of your feet off the ground, leaving your feet anchored on the floor. You can do both feet at once or alternate feet.

Do this for a minute straight and then stretch your ankles. Repeat a few times to feel the burn up your lower legs.

Glute Squeeze

Tone your glutes with a simple isometric exercise. Sitting at your desk, simply squeeze both buttocks muscles and hold for 5-10 seconds. Then, release.

Build up to the point where you can hold this for a minute.

Flying Solo

This one is something to try while you’re reading – not typing (unless you want to work on your one-handed typing skills).

Lift one arm out to the side, holding it at 90 degrees from your body. Leave it there for as long as you can, and then repeat on the other side. If you want to up the difficulty, hold a heavy book in your raised hand.

Leg raisers

Get those abdominal muscles firing with some under-the-desk leg raisers.

Knees bent as you sit, simply lift both feet off the floor and use your abs to keep them hovering. If you’re feeling brave, extend one leg in front of you, alternating sides.

Sprint break

Make the most of working from home – look a bit silly. For every thirty minutes of desk time, get up and run on the spot for 2-5 minutes.

Try sprinting on the spot, running as hard as you can for as long as you can. Build up your stamina. Cardiovascular exercise is especially beneficial for immunity.

If you’re WFH, there are no colleagues to worry about. . . so you better get running.

Squat and talk

Got a phone meeting? Squat your way through it. Pop some headphones in and pop some squats.

Squats can be replaced with any low to medium-effort static exercise. The trick to getting exercise during the workday is this: use any opportunity you can. If you can work while moving, do it.

Box it out

If you need to let off some steam, get your fight on. Find a pumping playlist and let out your inner ninja.

Swing some uppercuts, jabs and hooks. Throw in some kicks for good measure. Box however you like until the song is over.

This is a fun and easy way to raise your heartbeat during mini-work breaks.

Desk chair swivel

If you’ve got a wheelie chair, put it to good use. Raising your feet off the floor, rest your fingertips on your desk and use your abs to swivel your body away.

This exercise works your lower back, obliques and quads. And who doesn’t love mucking around on their swivel chair?

End your day with some Zen

So, you’ve done all your daily desk exercises. You’re ready to call it a day. If you’re working from home, the perfect way to end your day is with a stretch session.

Given how good stress-reducing exercise is for your immunity, yoga is just what the doctor ordered.

Find an online video tutorial and roll out your mat. If you don’t have a mat, a towel works too.

Keep calm and exercise

There are plenty of reasons to prioritise exercise, including the immunity benefits it offers. As COVID-19 evolves, keep an eye out for the latest health advice and change your exercise routine accordingly.

Gyms might be closed, but your desk is open. There are lots of ways to squeeze a little more movement into your working day.

At Employment Hero, we know how important your physical and mental wellbeing is. Our integrated HR platform includes resources to keep you in great physical health, no matter your work circumstance.

Be creative and snatch up every opportunity for movement. Become a desk exercise pro and reap the immunity benefits.

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Isabelle Comber
People Specialist - Employment Hero
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