Workplace Exercises for the Patient Who is Always Sitting

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Workplace Exercises for the Patient Who is Always Sitting

One of the benefits of being in the healthcare field is that we are not typically sitting at a desk for nine hours a day. However, the same cannot be said for all of our patients. Many of the adult clients that we see have jobs that require them to sit throughout the day. This can put them at a greater risk of injury, obesity, diabetes and depression. We need to be cognizant of this in planning their home exercise regimen.

We should also consider including exercises that they can do at work. If patients are only completing the prescribed workout at home, they may be less effective at preventing future injuries. Maintaining strength is key to preventing injuries, so let’s make the most of our patients’ time by giving them some tips on injury prevention!


For at least ten minutes every hour, spend time doing any of the following movements:



· Neck and Shoulders: Shrug the shoulders slowly up and down as you exhale deeply and slowly. Tilt your head slowly up and down.

· Torso: Turn to your right, grab the back of the chair with your right hand and the arm of the chair with your left hand. Hold and slowly breathe. Repeat on the other side.

· Legs: While at your chair, extend your legs straight in front of you. Alternate flexing the feet and the toes.

· Love Your Back: Hug yourself! Cross your arms in front of you and reach around to touch your back. This one feels great!



· Try a fitness ball: This should definitely be practiced in therapy first, but if a patient invests in a fitness ball in place of a chair it will help their balance and strengthen their core muscles. A strong core will be incredibly helpful in preventing injury!

· Leg Raises: While in your chair, simply alternate lifting the legs. This helps strengthen hips and thighs.

· Chair Squats: Simply stand up and sit back down ten times.

· Glute Flex: This can be done without anyone else even noticing. Flex the glutes as tightly as you can for 10-30 seconds.

· Shoulder Press: Bring a weight to work or grab something light from your desk. While sitting, hold the weight at shoulder height and raise above the head ten times.


Bonus Moves

There are always extra opportunities to build muscle and stay fit. Encourage your patients to avoid taking shortcuts at work and implement any of these habits into their routine.

· Take the Stairs: Say goodbye to the elevator! In addition to the cardio workout, stairs are a great way to strengthen the legs and glutes.

· Stand: Have the patient ask their employer if they can get a standing work desk. If not, they can find opportunities to stand throughout the day like when they are talking on the phone or to their co-workers.

· Park Far Away: Who needs VIP Parking? A few extra minutes of walking adds up quickly over the course of the month.


Sitting all day can cause stiffness, pain and lead to further injury. Implementing a work exercise routine can also boost patient mood and overall well-being. Let’s meet clients where they are at by providing treatment plans that work in every part of their lives! Become a NARA member to take advantage of our resources for rehabilitation providers.