10 Workplace-Friendly Exercises To Remain Active On The Job
By: Beverly Pereira on Jul 31st, 2014
Let your workout run into your office hours with this handy exercise guide

Desk jobs and the entire 9-to-5 routine can really take a toll on your body and mind. Add to this those daily fast-food lunches and late dinners, and you have all the ingredients for a burnout. It is crucial to exercise in order to combat the adverse effects of sedentary jobs. But if you are unable to drag yourself out for a walk, jog or post-work gym session, you can incorporate these exercises and easy activities into your workday to remain on top on things. While this set of exercises might not exactly turn you into the epitome of fitness, we highly recommend them in addition to regular workouts, especially if you are a cubicle-bound employee.


If you want a more intensive workout but are strapped for time, here are some 20 minute or less exercises you should try!

Stairway to fitness heaven

Take the stairs instead of the elevator to kick-start your day at work. Not only will this help to elevate your heart rate, but you’ll also be able to lose that extra weight. To get the most out of this exercise, sprint up the stairs and occasionally jump two steps for an added workout. Run down and walk up the stairs after lunch for better results.

Pre-work prep
Image credit: jessiewong

Now that you’re all warmed up, it’s time to get ready for those long hours in front of the computer screen. Gently tilt your head towards your right shoulder and hold for ten seconds. Repeat this stretch on the left side. Sitting at your desk the right way is as important as exercise. Make sure that your chair isn’t too low or high to avoid neck strains. Your feet should be able to rest comfortably on the ground. Rest your lower back against the back of the chair for a good support.

The sitting plank

Sit on a chair in a cross-legged position and place your arms on the chair’s armrests. Suck in your stomach while you try to raise yourself a few inches above the seat and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat this exercise five times, and within a few days you’ll emerge with a tougher core as well as stronger arms.

Let it loose
Image credit: Physiosense

It’s not unusual for the muscles in your back and neck to feel stiff after staring at your computer screen for hours on. Perform this easy and discreet exercise as often as you like to relieve yourself from this tension. Roll both your shoulders forward in a circular motion and repeat this in the backward direction, ten times each. End this exercise by stretching your arms towards the ceiling. This exercise will not only help to loosen your neck, shoulder and back muscles, but it will also rejuvenate you for the rest of the day.

Raise the bar
Image credit: wikiHow

Seated in your chair, extend one leg out straight in front of you and hold for five seconds. Then raise the same leg a bit higher and hold for five more seconds. Repeat this exercise with each leg at least 8 times. This activity helps the muscles in your lower legs to get stretched after hours of sedentary work. More importantly, it helps to improve the strength in your lower body.

Tiptoed teammate
Image credit: The Oz blog

So you’ve got over a dozen pages to print for that latest presentation. Instead of just standing by the printer, use this time wisely. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and raise yourself on to your toes. Hold this position for at least 10 seconds and then return back to the first position. Three sets of five reps each will strengthen your calves. If you find this a tad easy after a few days, move on to something more challenging. Try this exercise by raising one leg at a time.

Silent squeezes
Image credit: You Tube

This is yet another discreet exercise that will keep your glutes toned, while helping you burn a few calories to boot. To start, simply squeeze your buttock muscles, hold for ten seconds and then release. The best part about this exercise is that you can perform it almost anywhere—when you are in the elevator or while you are waiting for your lunch to get warmed up in the microwave. Repeat this as often as you can to see good results.

Swivel and swirl
Image credit: Narbutas

Yes, those swivel chairs in your office are a whole lot of fun. But would you believe us if we told you that you could tone your lower abs while sitting on one of them? Well, here’s how you can. Sit upright and let your feet hover above the floor. Hold the edge of your desk with your fingers and use your core to swivel the chair from side to side. But remember: This exercise is effective only if you utilize your core to turn from side to side.

Desk mounts
Image credit: MONDO Emma Cunningham

While this exercise is not exactly discreet, you still won’t be as noticeable or distracting as the chatty marketing team. The desk pushup is much like a ground pushup that helps you to strengthen your entire body. But first, check whether your desk is solid enough to take your weight. Standing, place your hands at the edge of the desk. Take a step backwards and lower yourself onto the desk using the weight of your arms. Repeat this exercise 15 times.

Take a stand
Image credit: DIY-SDK

Studies have shown that standing rather than sitting has proven to be beneficial to one’s health besides improving longevity. It’s no wonder that many offices across the world have started to install desks that encourage the act of standing. Urge your co-workers to opt for a standing meeting, rather than one in which all members are slouched on their chairs over the conference table. Yet another way to incorporate this into your daily life is by walking, even if it is to deliver a message to your colleague instead of emailing him or her.

How do you manage to beat the stress at work and remain fit while you are at it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Beverly Pereira
A writer who lives to discover, Beverly can be found enjoying a good meal or a song when she's not creating prose. The process of painting, ideating and reading inevitably inspires her to write some more. She recently discovered that she has a green thumb and that cooking is more therapeutic than gruelling, as she had previously imagined it to be.   Read more
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