For eight hours a day I have the ability to sit or stand at my desk while I work. I'd like to think I can multitask during this time and get some proper stretching or exercise in while also focusing on the computer...and stack exchange...What are some good exercises that can be incorporated with this setup?
This question might get closed because it's a bit of a "how long is a piece of string?" position, I'll let others decide if they think so. But since it's been a month and hasn't gotten any close votes, and since I have a stand-up-able desk myself, anecdotally here's what I'd tell you.
There's a decent amount of literature stating that standing desks aren't really that good for you. This seems to fly in the face of other data that suggests that more sitting = shorter lifespans. That latter point was a major reason that stand up desks became so popular, but if you cut into the data a bit it's more nuanced. Time spent sitting around watching television for 8 hours on a Saturday also has all the lack fitness and assumed poor eating habits, which might really be the culprit. Certainly we can't decouple the lifestyle behaviors of those who sit a lot with the time of how long they sit.
Put another way, an otherwise extremely health person who sits 8 hours a day can be safely assumed to live a longer and healthier life than an otherwise unhealthy person who sits 8 hours a day.
Directly Answering Your Question
- Goblet squats. This requires a not-overly-large kettlebell or dumbbell and the benefits of the squat exercise in general gives you a lot of bang for your buck.
- Dumbbell Squat Press (aka Thruster). You can generally do this with a duplicate of whatever weight you used for your goblet squat. If you used a 25lb dumbbell for your goblet, used a 25lb dumbbell in each hand for this.
- Dumbbell row. Again, you can use the same weight as you did for your goblet squat. You don't really need to have your leg up, and instead can just keep your back straight and put the non weight-hand on something sturdy like a waist-high-ish office cabinet.
- Planks. There are variations as well, but in general you really just need you and a floor.
One of the things I like about my standing desk is that it encourages me to move. If you're already standing it's no big deal to walk across the room, grab a lighter dumbbell, and knock out 10 squats. Your legs are already a bit warmed up because you've been standing and fidgeting around for a while. Conversely, if you're in a seated position there's just a big more of a barrier between where you're at and doing something physical.
Another note is that you'll want to wear flexible clothes. If you're allowed to wear shorts or prana style pants, you're set. But if you're wearing more traditional office setting clothes you probably won't have the flexibility to do most of the exercises listed, especially the squats.
A couple of ~25lb dumbbells (or whatever number works for you, there is no "right" number other than that) takes up little space, are cheap, and can allow you to do a lot.