Home guest articles 7 Smart Ways to Exercise at Work

7 Smart Ways to Exercise at Work

written by Guest Blogger February 23, 2016

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s difficult to get in our recommended daily exercise. So I’m proud to publish today’s article by guest blogger, Kelly Smith, who shares with us a list of work exercise hacks!

We’ve all been told that 20 minutes of exercise is what we need to aim for in order to optimize our health for the long run, but between long hours at the office, and the daily commute, sometimes it’s hard to imagine squeezing in exercise without sacrificing sleep or time with your loved ones.

Just because you don’t have time for the gym doesn’t mean you have to completely give up on your fitness goals. There are plenty of ways you can incorporate strength training, stretching, and even a little bit of aerobics into your daily routine, without disrupting it at all. Keep reading to learn some of the best tips for keeping fit while keeping up with your workload.


Isometrics require no tools, are surprisingly effective, and discrete. Not only will it strengthen and tone the targeted muscle group, but it will help get your blood flowing and wake you up if you feel yourself nodding off during a meeting.

Make a fist with your right hand, and rest it on your right knee. Lift your knee up while pushing against it with your fist, and hold for 5 seconds. Then do the same on the left side. This exercise strengthens your legs, arms, and abdominal muscles, all with one small motion. You can also work your glutes, by tightening your buttocks while sitting. You should actually notice a slight lift off the chair as you do this. Hold each of these exercises for 5 seconds, and repeat 8-10 times, three times each day. With time, you can learn to do this with many different muscle groups you want to target, and you can increase your holding time or your reps as the exercises become easier.

The desk chair swivel

If you’ve got a swivel chair, use it. Sit in your chair with your back straight. Lift your feet just off the floor, and grab hold of the edge of your desk. While keeping your head, shoulders, and arms locked in place, use your abs to twist slowly to the left and then the right. Do this for 8-10 times each side, three times throughout the workday.

Shoulder rolls

Our posture takes a toll as we slump forward, lean on the desk, and stare at a computer screen. A quick fix is the simple shoulder roll. It will help bring your back, shoulders, and neck into alignment, and should help release any tension you are carrying in your upper back area. While sitting or standing upright, with arms relaxed at your sides, bring the shoulders forward, then up, then back, then down again. Do this 8-10 times, 3 times a day.

Wall push-ups

Waiting for a document to finish printing? Find some clear wall-space, or the edge of a counter in the copy room, and get some upper body strengthening in. Keep your feet shoulder width apart, place your hands flat against the wall or grab the edge of the counter. Then step your feet back until your body is at an angle, and push yourself away from the wall. Repeat 8-10 times, any time you find yourself standing around waiting.

Get up and walk

It may sound cliché, but there are plenty of ways to make this one work. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Pop around the corner to talk to a co-worker instead of sending an email from 30 feet away. Go get a glass of water. Noticed the copier is almost out of paper? Head to the supply closet and grab a new ream. Use the bathroom on the other side of the building to get in extra steps each day. You’d be surprised how little habits can make a huge difference at the end of the day.

Shoulder shrugs

While sitting up straight, or standing, lift your shoulders as high as you can towards your ears, tightening them as much as you can. Press your elbows into the sides of your body, and curl your hands into fists. Hold for up to 30 seconds, then relax, allowing the tension to be released from your upper body. Finish off with some shoulder and neck rolls to help loosen things up.

Leg extensions

While sitting at your desk, straighten one leg completely, tightening the muscles all along the front of your thigh, and hold for 5 seconds. Switch and do the same with your other leg. Repeat 10 times. If you’re really looking for a challenge, lift both legs at the same time, and engage your abs too.

These are just a few of the many exercise opportunities you can find each day. As you integrate these exercises into your daily routine, you’ll notice that you’re feeling less tired, and more energized. You’ll also likely begin looking for other ways that you can fit your exercise routine into your work day.

About the Author

Kelly Smith is an experienced writer and tutor working at Career FAQs. She’s keen on new motivational tools and productivity hacks. She’s also interested in the new media.

Do you have any exercise at work hacks to add to this list?

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