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.

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

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.

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SHOAPIE 7/13/2018
Thank you. Report
CHRIS3874 7/12/2018
I don't feel this is necessarily a realistic article- not everyone can afford the luxury of being able to "fit in" exercise during the work day. At a previous employer I can recall being told i could NOT do my post car accident exercises during work hours (even thought MY BOSS COULD) or I could risk being disciplined or worse. Report
Great ideas! Report
Luckily my office door supports a bands...so I can work out when thinking about things; I wouldn't do that in a cubicle, though. Report
Move my body Report
good ideas Report
Don't give up. There are too many nay-sayers out there
who will try to discourage you.
Don't listen to them.
The only one who can make you give up is yourself.
- Sidney Sheldon Report
these are great ideas even for those of us who are not working as they can be used by all Report
Good ideas. Report
This is great advice for people with a 9-5 office job... but I'm full time retail. My commute is a half hour drive each way. I get 15-20 minutes for lunch. I'm in constant motion, no sitting, no resting. I log some serious mileage! My schedule fluctuates anywhere from 4a to midnight. Sooo... any advice for those of us not chained to a desk and a routine?
BTW, today is truck day, which means "arm day." Plenty of lifting. Tomorrow is "leg day" with plenty of squats while stocking. :D Report
Sweaty after a work out, use cheap wet ones, and take a change of undies to work. Don't forget the zip lock bag to store your old undies though.😊 Report
Suggestions: Drink water at your desk. When you are ready for the bathroom, do a set of exercises like squats, wall push-ups, running in place for a minute, touch your toes, etc. (whatever you can do as time, space, and privacy allow). Maybe choose one exercise per bathroom trip. Then freshen a bit, refill your water bottle and go back to work. Repeat, again, as time and space allows. If you can't do a workout or need to be discreet, maybe walk a little faster, or at your workstation suck in your tummy and tighten your butt and sit at attention, Point and flex your toes, lift your knees under your desk. In other words, be creative. They aren't talking about a full force workout at the office, but that there are opportunities to work in a little bit of fitness here and there.

I commute by car; this last month I've been able to get to work early - at least 10-30 min. Those days I take a walk before work. Some days I'll use a portion of my lunch for a 10 min walk. It really helps keep the mind clear and gets me outside an office with no windows. Report
A mini-gym in the cubicle.

Have you SEEN the sizes of cubicles recently? Especially the kind you have to share with a coworker?

No seriously I would love to fit in a squat rack. Anything to warm me up! Report
Ironically I have a fairly physical job right now and a free gym nearby but i rarely use it - good thing I have weights at home (YES I AM using them !!! Even after a hard day like yesterday). Report
Any suggestions on how not to be a sweaty stinky person with some of these? My office has no gym/showering facilities. Report