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Work Out at Work: 6 Simple Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk

A collage of a standing desk, stationary office bike, and a man working out his triceps with a resistance band.
FlexiPoint/FlexiPoint/Fit Simplify

Carving out the time for a full workout might not be possible for everyone’s schedule. If you spend your days sitting at a desk, though, there are plenty of simple exercises you can do while you work.

These days, just about everyone’s schedule is so jam-packed, getting to the gym or just finding 30 extra minutes to exercise can be a real challenge. But these simple desk exercises make it possible for you to work out while you work, and you won’t even get sweaty!

Switch Out Your Desk Chair for a Swiss Ball

A man and woman sitting on Swiss Balls at the office.

Known for their versatility, Swiss exercise balls are an excellent way to improve your balance, and strengthen and challenge your core. All you have to do is balance on it while typing away on your computer.

This is exactly why they’re also called stability balls. They help you maintain good posture by preventing slouching. Using a Swiss ball also releases lower back pain, as you won’t be putting too much weight on your sacrum. They also keep you on your toes and ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice.

Trideer Extra Thick Swiss Ball

Strengthen your core while you work.

Get a Standing or Walking Desk

Standing desk in an office setting and at home.

Long office hours also mean long periods of sitting down. Some days, the only exercise you get is a few trips down the hall to the restroom or to refill your coffee in the break room. Because of this, many companies are encouraging their employees to switch out their desks for standing versions. Some are even adding treadmills to their standing desks to keep them moving.

Standing Desk

Keep your body moving as you work.

Desk treadmills are a pretty cool invention. They usually don’t go any faster than 4 mph, so there’s no fear of injury or sweating. Treat your Zoom meetings like a walk and talk in the park. Not only will you feel better and keep your blood circulating, but you’ll probably find you’re more productive, as well.

Goplus 2-in-1 Folding Treadmill

Get your daily walk in without leaving your desk.

If your company won’t invest in or allow desk treadmills, but will approve standing desks, go for one of those. It will still allow you to move around more, even if you’re just shifting your weight from one foot to the other.

Keep Your Legs Working with a Stationary Bike

Two images of a stationary office bike.

You might not find yourself in the Olympics any time soon, but riding a stationary bike while you work on that presentation or chat with Alice from accounting is an amazing workout. Even when you’re not pedaling, simply sitting on a bike seat instead of a chair will work your core, keep your legs engaged, and prevent your spine from slouching.

If you have a standing desk already, you can just add a bike that will work, especially if you work from home. Or, you can invest in this awesome desk bike from by FlexiSpot. It has a work surface large enough for your laptop, tablet, and phone.

Stationary Office Bike

Pedal while answering emails.

Pedal in Your Office Chair with a Mini Bike

Mini exercise bike in black and white.

Maybe your office won’t be ready for a collab with SoulCycle any time soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still pedal! This mini exercise bike by GOREDI will fit under any desk, so no one even has to know it’s there if you don’t want them to.

Pick one up for your office or co-working space, or use it in the living room while you watch TV. These little bikes are actually addictive, though, so you might find yourself working off those extra calories without feeling like you even put in any extra effort.

Mini Exercise Bike

Pedal in secret.

Toss Some Resistance Bands in Your Bag

A collage of resistance bands and a man working his triceps with a resistance band.
Fit Simplify

The smallest and easiest exercise tool to smuggle into any office is a set of resistance bands. They’ll not only help you get in some exercise, but they can make long days at the office more fun.

You can loop them around your thighs or ankles to work your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, or tie them to your desk and work your arms by pulling them. They’re a super-easy way to get your blood pumping and your heart rate up between meetings.

Resistance Bands

Work your arms and legs anywhere.

Work in Some Stretching

Just doing a few simple stretches throughout the day can benefit your physical (and mental) health. Stretching not only improves circulation, but it can also increase your focus and concentration, and give you more energy.

There are tons of stretches you can do at the office, even if you’re wearing a dress or a suit. Develop your own routine, or just follow the video above by AskDoctorJo. Pay special attention to your neck and back, as those are the areas most affected by hours of sitting.

If you’re having trouble fitting in a daily workout, it’s time for some multitasking! Just because you’re stuck in the office all day doesn’t mean you have to skip your exercises. Any of these simple, but effective, options will ensure you get your work and exercise hours in each day.

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
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