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Exercise at the Office to Avoid Being an Office Couch Potato

By Edited Oct 8, 2015 3 11

Office Exercises to Keep You Sharp at Work

If you work in an office all day you can still get up and enjoy a little exercise. Work through some of these exercise tips to help you stay healthy, strong and energetic.

Most of these suggestions are for people who work in an office environment and don't have physically demanding jobs. If you are required to move because of your work requirements you can try to find ways of ramping up the speed and intensity at which you do your job (assuming you are not working a job where this would be dangerous). The extra effort and intensity will make you a better employee and add to the health benefits of your job.

For the rest of us who have more sedentary jobs I hope these tips are beneficial. These suggestions are not meant to replace regular exercise that you should be getting anyway. These are supplements to help you burn a few more calories than normal and help you stay fresh and alert at work. If you aren't already engaged in a regular exercise program then I hope this will help motivate you to doing much more.

Stand Up

Don't sit in your chair all day. Take an occasional break to keep your mind and body fresh. Set an hourly reminder to get up and move. You don't have to waste a lot of your work day doing this. It would only take a couple of minutes each hour to walk down the hall and keep awake and alert.

Take every opportunity you can to stand up while working. When you have to plow through reading material or talk on the phone, you can do these as easily standing up as you can sitting down. Stay on your feet when you drop into a co-worker's office to share information.

Sit Up

The more actively you sit in your chair, the more mentally alert you will be. Good posture will help promote stronger core muscles. The reverse is true too. If you will take some time to work on your core muscles (all the muscles in the trunk of your body) you will have better posture and feel less sluggish at work.



Take a couple of minutes to stretch your neck, hands, arms and legs. This will help you feel fresh and less tense. Don't do deep stretches with cold muscles. There is no need to act like you are about to jump onto the basketball court. Do light stretches. Focus mostly on your muscles and joints that you use to do your work. Don't allow a stiff neck to keep you from being healthy and productive.

Use the Stairs

Use the Stairs

Consider taking your bathroom breaks on another floor of the office building so you can use the stairs. When moving about the office building, do so via the stairwells. Without wasting time, try to deliver messages in person to your co-workers instead of calling them on the phone.

Get on the Floor

There are many simple exercises you can do quickly with the door closed that won't require you to take a shower afterwards. Your body-builder friend will tell you that if you don't do push ups to a point of fatigue then you aren't getting the benefit you could from them. While that is true from a bodybuilder's perspective, we aren't trying to look like Schwarzenegger. If you can crank out 10 push ups three or four times each work day you will be much stronger (and burn more calories) than you would if you only did push ups once a week at the gym.

Sit ups too can be done in small doses and still be beneficial. Crunches are better for your back and just as effective as sit ups. You don't have to do full sit ups to reap the rewards.

Walk Around the Parking Lot

Take a Walk

Do you spend half the day with a phone stuck in your ear? If you have a cordless phone, get up and pace through the room while you are talking. When on your cell phone you can go outside and walk around the block. You will be healthier for it and probably get better phone reception.

Take your team around the office complex for a walking meeting. Instead of sitting in the conference room snacking on junk food you can enjoy the fresh air and some exercise doing laps around the parking lot.

Get a Drink

Stay hydrated. Coffee is often the easiest beverage to grab in an office where it flows freely. Though it has been determined that coffee is not as dehydrating as once thought, it still isn't the best choice you can make. When you are at the office make a conscientious effort to drink plenty of water. Air conditioning can be dehydrating too. Water won't fight off all germs, but keeping a well-lubricated body will probably help you avoid a couple of colds each year.

Your Suggestions

What are you doing to stay active at work? I would love to read your comments below.



Nov 30, 2011 6:28pm
I used to climb the stairs to the 10th floor twice or more times during a lunch hour. It was an easy way to exercise at the office, even when it was cold outside.
Nov 30, 2011 9:26pm
I am in an office of just 2 floors, but I have plenty of opportunities to get up and down the stairs.

I am going to try and commute more on my bike even though it is getting colder. Maybe I will ride faster to get there.
Dec 1, 2011 10:56pm
If you work in an office, these are good ideas that you can use. Taking a walk is one of the easiest exercises that you can do at work-it helps you relax and you get the benefit of exercising.
Dec 2, 2011 9:44am
I think too many people discount the value of a walk. While it is not the most intense thing you can do, it certainly is better than sitting in a chair all day with no movement.

I lost almost 100 lbs. several years ago. I started my journey with walking around the block.
Dec 20, 2011 7:11am
A friend of mine worked in a office and he had one of those mini exercise bikes. He would just pedal away for an hour or two each day while working. He really seemed less stressed, had more energy and lost a few pounds once he started using it.
Dec 20, 2011 8:34am
I've seen those but have never tried one. I get my biking in by commuting to work on my bike 2 or 3 days a week. I always feel more focused and productive on those days.
Dec 20, 2011 9:39am
These are great suggestions for getting exercise at work. I work at a high school, and do a lot of walking during the day. I think it is so much healthier than sitting all day!
Dec 20, 2011 12:17pm
I worked at a High School for a couple of years as an interpreter. I certainly did my share of walking when I was there. Sitting is such an easy thing to do, but so unhealthy.

Thanks for your comment!
Dec 20, 2011 12:08pm
Exercise at work helps keep the mind fresh because it increases circulation and oxygenation of the brain. It helps to prevent the sluggishness that sometimes occurs in the second half of a work shift. Great suggestions here to help keep us moving.
Dec 20, 2011 12:18pm
Thank you for the additional benefit information. I find that when I am at work and active I am much less sluggish in the afternoon.
Dec 4, 2013 4:26am
When you have done a lot of exercise it is great to eat potato chips on a couch, and even enjoy being a justified couch potato!
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