The Work Workout in 12 Steps

Categories Lifestyle


Keep fit by turning your office into your gym…

1. Stairways To Fitness

You’ve thought about it before but now make it a vow: take the stairs. Arriving and leaving the office, plus going out and returning from lunch, can give you four intense cardio blasts every day. To make it happen with no excuses plan for these mini workouts. That means setting aside a few extra minutes, wearing running shoes to work and keeping them handy to slip on and off and lunchtime and close of business. Also good: a small hand towel to wipe your sweaty brow and deodorant in your desk drawer.


2. Tap Your Toes

While some of the exercises here require you to be willing to get up and do your thing in front of your co-workers, this one can be a secret activity so long as you don’t stomp. Sit up straight at your desk and drum your feet lightly on the carpet. Aim for speed not heavy impact—think tap dancing—and see how long you can keep it up. You’ll be surprised at how much energy it’ll take to last longer than five minutes.

3. Secret Butt Squeeze

Like toe tapping to burn calories, you can do this one without anyone being the wiser. For a toned posterior, simply squeeze your buttocks as tight as you can, hold for 10 seconds, release and repeat. You can even do this one in a meeting as the boss drones on and on. Tone up further by contracting your core: this means squeezing your abs so it feels like you’re tightening them back to your spine.

4. Don’t Email Everyone Every time

Need to send a message to the co-worker down the hall, on the other side of the office or on the next floor? Unless it’s something that requires a written record, get your now-toned butt up out of your chair and walk to tell them in person. Incidental exercise like this breaks up long sedentary spells that are linked to premature death. Being a walking-talking man of the people also allows you to get to know your peers better. This is, of course, good for your career. But it also has health benefits, with recent studies showing the males with stronger friendships suffer less stress and enjoy better overall health.

5. Stand And Deliver

We’ve all heard about the dangers of sitting for long periods. For deadliness to your health, it’s apparently up there with smoking, eating Maccas 24/7 and listening to Zayn Malik songs. So, if possible, ask your boss—or treat yourself—to a standing desk. You’ll burn more calories and experience other health benefits, from better posture and lowered blood pressure to reduced chance of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Of course, not every company or self-employment budget is going to stretch to an office refit. But that doesn’t mean you can’t just stand on your own two feet anyway. If you don’t need to be sitting, then don’t. While you might find it hard to reach your keyboard if you’re standing, there’s nothing stopping you from standing while you read from paper or screen files or make and take phone calls. Got a meeting coming up? Suggest to your colleagues that you all stand. For one thing, it’ll make those meetings shorter.


6. Add In Desk Squats

Move your chair out of the way and add desk squats into your standing routine. With arms out in front of you or raised over your head, and with feet shoulder width apart, lower yourself as if you were going to sit in that now-removed chair. Hold when your thighs are parallel to the floor, straighten up and repeat.

7. Wall Sits

Got a blank wall and a few minutes? Great, that’s all you need for this exercise, which builds endurance and strength. Stand with your upper and lower back against the wall, feet shoulder width apart about 30cm from wall with toes slightly pointed outwards. Bend your knees, lower yourself slowly until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Hold for 15 seconds, return to starting position and repeat. This is one you can do while talking on the phone (just don’t grunt).

8. Calf Raises

You can do this one anytime you’re standing, be it waiting for the printer or in line for a coffee. With feet shoulder-width apart, raise yourself up on tiptoes, hold at maximum height for a few seconds and then ease yourself back down. Repeat. You’ll have killer calf muscles before you know it.

9. Thigh Press

Reading Game Of Thrones on your commute? Use this fantasy novel—or, in fact, any brick-thick book—as gym equipment while at your desk. Simply place the hefty tome between your knees and press your legs inwards as hard as you can so your feel it through your inner thighs. Try holding for 60 seconds. Give yourself a break and repeat. The only downside: you might have to explain exactly how much you love Mother Of Dragons to curious co-workers.

10. Desk Tricep Dip

Sit on the edge of your desk or non-rolling chair. Placed hands either side of you and firmly grip the desk edge or chair arms. Your feet should be flat on floor about 45cm from chair or desk. Lift your body up by straightening arms and then bend arms to right-angle so your body dips down and out from the desk or chair. Hold for a few seconds, straighten up until body is raised back over desk or chair. Do 10 reps.


11. Hand Press

Are you stronger than yourself? That’s the way to think of this simple test of power (that’s unwinnable, by the way). Sit up straight, feet flat on the floor and bring the heels of your hands together in front of your chest. Now push with both arms until you feel your biceps and pecs contacting. Keep pushing for 30 seconds. Release. Repeat. You can do this all day (so long as you don’t need your hands to, like, type)

12. Under Desk Leg Raise

Sit with correct posture and both feet on floor. Now lift and extend one leg out straight so it’s parallel to the floor. Hold for a few seconds, ensuring the rest of you doesn’t move. Now lower leg so that your heel almost but doesn’t quite touch the floor. Hold for a few seconds. Raise leg back to upper position. Do 15 reps and swap legs.