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Desktop Detox

Embrace Desktop Detox: Simple and Effective Exercise for Your Desk Routine 

By:  Jennifer Kennedy - Fitness and Wellness Clinic Director – The Boulevard Club 

In today's fast-paced world, where the demands of work often tether us to our desks for hours on end, it's easy to neglect our physical well-being. Prolonged sitting not only takes a toll on our bodies but also on our productivity and overall health. But what if I told you that you can break free from the sedentary shackles of your desk with simple and effective exercises that you can do right at your workstation?

Welcome to the world of Desktop Detox – a holistic approach to reclaiming your vitality and rejuvenating your mind and body, all without leaving your desk. In this post, we'll explore a curated selection of exercises designed to counteract the negative effects of sedentary behavior, promote flexibility, and boost energy levels, all while seamlessly integrating into your daily routine.

Discover the benefits of incorporating these exercises into your desk-bound day, the ease with which they can be performed, and their accessibility regardless of your workspace constraints. Let's embark on a journey to revitalize your workday and cultivate a healthier, more balanced lifestyle, one desk exercise at a time.

Seated Eagle Arms (modified shoulder option):


Seated Eagle Arms is a yoga-inspired stretch that targets the shoulders, upper back, and arms. It helps to alleviate tension and tightness in these areas, making it a great choice for those who spend long hours sitting at a desk. Here's how to perform Seated Eagle Arms:

  1. Sit up tall in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and your spine lengthened.
  2. Extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height, parallel to the floor.
  3. Cross your right arm over your left arm at the elbow, bringing the palms of your hands together if possible. If your hands don't reach, you can simply place the back of your hands together or hold onto opposite shoulders.
  4. Lift your elbows slightly while keeping your shoulders relaxed away from your ears.
  5. Inhale to reach your fingertips to the ceiling, exhale, round your spine and bring your elbows towards your knees.  Repeat this motion 5- 10 times holding the final posture for 15-20 seconds.
  6. Release and repeat on the opposite side, crossing your left arm over your right.

Standing Cactus Arms:

Standing Cactus Arms is a simple stretching exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, and upper back. It's an excellent way to counteract the effects of hunching over a desk and promote better posture and shoulder mobility. Here's how to perform Standing Cactus Arms:

  1. Stand tall behind your desk with your feet hip-width apart and your spine aligned in a neutral position.
  2. Extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height, forming a "T" shape with your body.
  3. Bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle, bringing your upper arms parallel to the ground and your forearms perpendicular to the ground. Your fingertips should be pointing upward, resembling the shape of cactus arms.
  4. Engage your core muscles to stabilize your body and maintain an upright posture.
  5. Press your shoulder blades down and back, opening your chest and drawing your shoulder blades closer together.
  6. Repeat this motion 5- 10 times holding the final posture for 15-20 seconds.
  7. To deepen the stretch, gently squeeze your shoulder blades together while maintaining the cactus arm position.
  8. Release the stretch and repeat as desired, aiming for 2-3 repetitions.

Throughout the exercise, be mindful of your posture and avoid overarching or rounding your back. Standing Cactus Arms can be performed intermittently throughout the day, providing a quick and effective way to alleviate tension in the chest and shoulders and promote better alignment and mobility.

Standing Desk Lunge:

The Standing Desk Lunge is a simple yet effective exercise that targets the legs, hips, and core muscles. It's an excellent way to stretch tight hip flexors, strengthen the lower body, and promote better posture, especially for individuals who spend prolonged periods sitting at their desks. Here's how to perform the Standing Desk Lunge:

  1. Begin by standing tall behind your desk with your feet hip-width apart and your spine aligned.
  2. Take a step back with your right foot, allowing your heel to lift off the floor, and lower your right knee towards the ground. Your left knee should be bent at a 90-degree angle, positioned directly above your left ankle.
  3. Engage your core muscles to stabilize your body and maintain an upright posture.
  4. To deepen the stretch, gently press your hips forward and slightly lean your upper body back.
  5. Repeat this motion 5- 10 times holding the final posture for 15-20 seconds.
  6. Switch sides by stepping your right foot forward and repeating the lunge with your left leg.

Throughout the exercise, focus on maintaining proper form and breathing deeply to enhance the stretch and promote relaxation. The Standing Desk Lunge can be performed intermittently throughout the day, providing a quick and effective way to counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting and invigorate your body and mind.

Seated Figure Four (Thread the Needle):

Seated Figure Four, also known as Thread the Needle, is a seated yoga stretch that targets the hips, glutes, and lower back. It's an excellent choice for relieving tension and improving flexibility, particularly for individuals who spend extended periods sitting at a desk. Here's how to perform Seated Figure Four:

  1. Begin by sitting tall in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and your spine elongated.
  2. Lift your right foot off the floor and cross your right ankle over your left knee, forming a "figure four" shape with your legs.
  3. Flex your right foot to protect your knee and gently press your right knee down towards the floor. You should feel a stretch in your right hip and outer thigh.
  4. If you want to deepen the stretch, gently hinge forward at your hips while keeping your spine straight. Avoid rounding your back.
  5. Repeat this motion 5- 10 times holding the final posture for 15-20 seconds.
  6. Slowly release and switch sides, crossing your left ankle over your right knee and repeating the stretch on the opposite side.

Throughout the stretch, maintain a tall spine and engage your core muscles to support your posture. You should feel a gentle opening and stretching sensation in your hips and glutes. Seated Figure Four can be performed multiple times throughout the day, especially during breaks from sitting, to promote hip flexibility and alleviate tightness.

Take a moment to watch this video for a demonstration of the stretches listed above.

By incorporating these exercises into your daily routine, you can reclaim vitality, enhance productivity, and foster a healthier work-life balance. Say goodbye to the sedentary slump and hello to a revitalized, more dynamic workday with Desktop Detox. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly at jkennedy@boulevardclub.com