6 Ways to Fit in Exercise at Work

By , Edgar L., SparkPeople Contributor

Having trouble staying fit while managing your career? A good workout doesn't require fancy machines or hours of free time. Lose weight, boost your metabolism and increase your energy with these six smart office exercise tips.

Take Advantage of the Commute

For many, the morning commute conjures up images of congested roads, angry drivers and fickle stoplights. If your office isn't too far, why not leave the car keys behind and rev up your lungs? A refreshing morning jog or bike ride has numerous health benefits. While it may be a struggle at first, a cardiovascular routine reduces bad cholesterol, improves stamina, and cuts down on the risk of heart disease. It will also leave you feeling energized and focused throughout the day. If your workplace is too far, consider taking public transit part of the way and jogging the rest. Still on the fence? Even small changes like parking further away or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can make a difference.

Use Your Lunch Break Wisely

Instead of squandering your one hour browsing the web, use it to get in shape. If your office has a fitness center, sneak in a quick session of weight training or work up a sweat on the elliptical machine. If you missed your morning jog, now's your opportunity to make it up. If it's raining or there are no gyms close by, do some calisthenics (bodyweight exercises) at your desk. These include push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and jumping jacks. Studies also show that a midday workout refreshes the brain, keeping you productive through the rest of the day.

Turn Your Cubicle into a Mini Gym

With a stability ball, a few dumbbells and a resistance band close by, you can fit in a few sets of exercises in between tasks. Dumbbell curls and presses will strengthen your upper body. Resistance band exercises are also great for strength training right from your desk chair. Or, replace your chair with a stability ball to improve your balance and posture. Cap off your workout with stability ball crunches to work your abs and build up core strength.

Exercise Your Hands and Wrists

If you work in front of a computer all day, carpal tunnel can affect the health of your hands, fingers, and wrists. Keep them strong with grip exercises using a stress ball, tennis ball, or grip trainer. These will strengthen your flexor muscles. Balance it out and train your extensor muscles by putting a wrist band around your fingers and spreading them out repeatedly. You can also get a good stretch by pressing the palms of your hands flat against each other in front of your chest. Repeat with the backs of your hands.

Climb the Stairs

Walking up stairs is an excellent way to burn calories and strengthen your legs and glutes. As you become stronger, try to walk faster or take two steps per stride. If that becomes too easy, strap on a heavy backpack and burn even more calories. You'll be surprised at how much of a sweat you'll work up. Just make sure to warm up beforehand and do some light stretching afterawrd to avoid cramps and injuries.

Exercise Together

Exercise is more fun with company. Invite your manager and coworkers to join in--you'll not only improve your health, but build camaraderie, too. Fun group exercises include medicine ball throws, basketball, tennis, and group jogging. Some companies also offer group fitness classes including yoga and spinning, so don't miss these opportunities!

There are countless other ways to integrate exercise into your daily routine. Coupled with a balanced diet, these strategies can help even the busiest worker get in shape during office hours.

NOTE: To avoid injury, consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.

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