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Top 5 Exercises You Can Do in the Workplace

By Lisa Kretchman | June 9, 2018 | Employee Well-Being

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In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to stretch ourselves so thin that we aren’t able to take time for ourselves. Balancing work and life while still making sure we are taking care of our bodies is tough, but so important!  Exercise is a common “to-do” that continues to get pushed further down our list until it eventually runs the risk of falling off. Studies done by the CDC show that 80% of Americans don’t get their recommended amount of exercise in each week.[1] The top reason? Time.[2] What if there was a way to make the most of our time and not let exercise fall off the list? As working professionals—there is!      

Try one of these 5 types of (overlooked) exercises this week while at work:


Walking is an easy way to burn calories while at work. Walks around your building, hopping on a trail around campus during lunch, conducting walking meetings, taking the stairs, parking further from the office or just walking down the hall to ask a coworker a question instead of picking up the phone are all great ways to get steps in during your day and get the blood pumping.   


Stretching is an important part of exercise and physical activity. Not only does it increase flexibility and help with balance and coordination, but it also reduces the risk of injury. Some easy at-your-desk stretches include: reach for the stars (arms straight up), bobblehead (tilt your head back and forth to stretch the neck), look around (turn head side to side and up and down), chest opener (pulling arms backwards and forwards while they are stretched out wide), and shoulder shrugs (up and down movement of shoulders.) Read about these stretches and more in this article from the Washington Post. 

Lift Those Legs

There are many opportunities to get those leg muscles working while still getting your work done. Leg lifts and leg raises can be done underneath your desk while seated, or try some calf raises and leg swings/glute lifts while waiting at the copy machine.

Raise the Roof

Don’t forget your arms! Something as simple as arm raises up and out a few times can get your arm pump on. If you have something to hold that can add a couple of pounds, such as a filled water bottle or stapler, you can use those in place of weights. 

Squeeze Those Abs

Believe it or not, core exercises can easily be done without equipment, while seated at your desk. Work your core by doing ab squeezes. Try it by holding your breath and contracting your muscles. Or give spinal twists a shot. Keep your feet planted and simply twist your body from side to side. Don’t forget the value and strength in holding good posture! Not only does it look better, but you will be engaging all of your core, as well as back and shoulder muscles, to sit up straight—which we know can be a struggle for those who sit at a desk, working at a computer all day.

[1] Jaslow, Ryan. “CDC: 80 percent of American adults don’t get recommended exercise.”

[2] Hobson, Kathryn. “10 Excuses for Not Exercising, and Why They Won’t Fly.”