How to Exercise at Work Every Day

Three Methods:Workplace Workout PlanningWorkplace ExercisesIsometric Desk Exercises

Many people find it hard to get the recommended 175 minutes of moderate cardiovascular and strength-training exercise per week. This exercise helps reduce the risk of weight gain, loss of bone mass, diabetes, stress and heart disease. If you find you are unable to work out when you get home, then you may be able to squeeze exercise into your daily work routine. You may find it relieves work-induced stress or muscle tension and improves your day. There are a number of ways you can start to exercise at work. Read more to find out how to exercise at work every day.

Method 1
Workplace Workout Planning

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    Ask your Human Resources department if your work has a wellness plan. Swedish studies have shown that workplace exercise boosts productivity and decreases sick leave, so many modern companies have started office gyms or incentives for weight loss. This may also make it easier to have active work breaks.
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    Understand your workout preferences. Although a half-marathon may be a good way to lose weight, the best exercise regime is the 1 you enjoy and can stick with in the long term. Make a list of 3 or 4 cardiovascular, strength-training or isometric exercise programs you enjoy or you would like to try.
    • Popular exercises include fast walking, jogging, cycling, using the elliptical, stair climbing, jump roping, yoga, pilates, tai chi, qigong, sit ups, push ups, weightlifting, resistance band training, ballet, Zumba, hip hop or Latin dancing and kick boxing.
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    Keep in mind that you should alternate cardiovascular training, such as fast walking or cycling, with strength-training or isometrics, such as weights, yoga or isometric exercise. Alternating workouts will also make you less likely to get bored with your workouts. Choose 1 of the following ways to get your daily exercise:
    • Join a gym near your work. If it is within a few blocks, you can work out for 30 minutes and return to work and your lunch. This is the best option if you prefer to work out in a gym atmosphere, take classes or use exercise equipment.
    • Find a space where you can exercise in privacy at work. This may be as simple as an unused meeting room or a large utility closet. Talk to your boss or office manager, if you do not know of a suitable space. Try to find a room with a door that can be shut and blinds that can be closed. This is a great option if you want to lift weights, do resistance band training, do yoga or pilates or play an exercise video on a computer.
    • Exercise outside of your office. Depending upon where you live, you may only have this as a seasonal option. This is a great way to get sunshine, clean air and exercise if you want to walk, jog or cycle. Some people even find a place to do yoga in the park. 10 to 20 minutes of direct sunlight on exposed skin can create mood-enhancing vitamin D.
    • Work out occasionally at your desk. You can do isometric and range-of-motion exercises at your desk. This should not be considered an entire workout regime, but it is a great way to fit in strength-training and release tension during very short breaks.
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    Keep a change of clothes and athletic shoes in your desk at the office. Most exercises should be done in flexible clothing and shoes with cushioning and arch support. Take your gym clothes home if they are very sweaty and replace them with clean ones immediately.
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    Ask a colleague, or colleagues, to join in your mission to exercise every day. Studies have shown that partnering in an exercise or weight loss goal aids people in meeting their goals. You can encourage each other to keep your commitment.
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    Eat a snack 1 and a half hours before you intend to exercise. This will avoid a hunger pangs if you intend to work out before lunch. It is not a good idea to work out on a full or completely empty stomach.

Method 2
Workplace Exercises

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    Take the first 30 minutes of your lunch to walk outside, do a workout video in a private space or go to the gym. Use this time to do the cardiovascular part of your daily exercise. Return to the office for the latter 30 minutes of your lunch break to eat your lunch.
    • Eat your lunch after your exercise. Your body will most likely crave food because it needs to rebuild the muscles after burning calories. Try to eat a balanced diet of lean protein, full grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
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    Bring an exercise ball to sit on at your desk. Measure the height of your current, ergonomically-correct desk chair. Ease yourself into using the exercise ball as a desk chair to reduce muscle fatigue and avoid back injury.
    • Sit on the exercise ball with your back straight and your knees at a 90 degree angle, hip-width apart. Start by using the exercise ball for 3 10-minute periods during your first week. Increase the time by 5 minutes each day. This "active sitting" in the correct posture can tone your core and shrink your waistline if done with cardiovascular exercise.
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    Keep small hand weights (2 to 5 lbs., 1 to 2.25 kg) or resistance bands in your desk drawer. Do bicep curls or tricep exercises while you are on the phone or on a conference call.
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    Do 1 to 5 minutes of shadow boxing in a private office. Plant your feet hip-width apart, with 1 foot (0.3 m) in front of the other. Begin punching the air slowly and then more quickly for 1 to 5 minutes.

Method 3
Isometric Desk Exercises

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    Do a wave of muscle contractions through your entire body. Flex each individual muscle for 5 to 10 seconds, and then move up your body. Start with your calves, move to your thighs, buttocks, abdominals (ab), chest, shoulders, arms, neck and face.
    • This is mainly an exercise for the tricep muscles. Your elbows should bend, supporting your weight as your buttocks dip down as low as they can and raise up again. Repeat 10 to 15 times, in 2 sets.
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    Move the back of your chair so that it is flush with the desk or a wall. Place your feet hip-width apart about 2 feet (0.6 m) in front of the chair. Grip the side of your chair and dip your buttocks below the seat of the chair, and then raise yourself up again.
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    Stand up and grip your hands on the front of your desk. Move your feet backward 2 to 3 feet (0.61 to 0.91 m) (0.6 to 0.9 m), and keep your arms outstretched so your body forms a straight line from shoulders to heels. Lower your body down to your desk with your arms and lift up slowly.
    • This exercise works your biceps, triceps and chest muscles. Do 10 repetitions, or as many as you can do until your muscles are fatigued.
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    Do desk squats. Stand in front of your chair with your legs at hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower yourself down until you are almost sitting, pause and then raise yourself back up.
    • Repeat 10 times and do 2 sets.
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    Flex your stomach muscles beginning from the lower abdominal muscles to the middle, obliques and upper muscles. Hold for 10 seconds then release. Begin doing clockwork ab exercises by flexing muscles in a circular motion around your core.


  • Remove your excuses not to exercise. The keys to working out daily are commitment and a positive attitude toward change. Keep a journal of your exercise habits and weight loss, if applicable. If you are training for an event, keep track of your speed to track your progress.
  • If your work has a good wellness program or a liberal attitude toward desks and office furniture, ask if you can install a treadmill desk. The Mayo Clinic suggests that overweight workers can lose 44 to 66 lbs. (20 to 30 kg) per year by walking 2 to 3 hours of their work day. A computer with a keyboard sits at the front of your desk and you can control how quickly you walk while you work at this vertical desk.

Things You'll Need

  • Athletic shoes
  • Flexible clothing
  • Exercise ball
  • Colleague
  • Gym membership
  • Small hand weights
  • Resistance bands

Article Info

Categories: Motivation to Exercise