Exercises you can not-so-secretly do in your office

Exercising is awesome, but also, life. And by life I mean office life. And commuter life. And side gig/freelancing life. Wow, that’s a lot of sitting and a weird amount of exhaustion from all the different hats I have to wear.

You are probably (most likely) in a similar situation. Here’s what you do: exercise in the office. Will you get weird looks? Absolutely. Will you ruin your nice work clothes by doing these exercises? Depends on how much you sweat.

But will you feel better about the desk life you live? Will you feel less guilty when you can’t make it to the gym? Absolutely. Here’s some exercises to give a whirl.

1. Push ups next to your desk

Or in the hallway. Or outside. Come on, drop and give me 20. Or 10. Or 2. If you do this at your desk, people will think you’re strong. Or, depending on the last time the carpet was cleaned, they’ll think you’re gross. It’s cool, you do whatever works for you. Or don’t. It’s your choice.

2. Break room lunges and squats

Do it while waiting for your healthy freezer meal in the microwave! (Everyone’s into Trader Joes freezer meals but I go to Walmart and get Birds Eye freezer meals and just steam those suckers.) Do some of those side lunges you don’t do enough of. Create your own 80s aerobics video. Throw in some sumo squats and create your own dance.

3. Chair squats

Just…hover. Start to sit down, but then don’t. Hover instead. And hold that hover until your knees start freaking out. Or, alternatively, just go back up and down. Up and down, up and down. Look like someone put a pine cone on your chair but you keep forgetting to throw it away.

4. Long walks around your office building

This is easy if you have a large enough campus and the work flexibility to take breaks from sitting. Just go for strolls wherever you can, even if it ends up being repetitive. Granted, you start getting a reputation for it. Then people start asking questions like, “Isn’t this like your fourth walk today?” Actually, it’s my seventh, but you don’t need to know that.

5. Stair dashes

Be the envy of everyone by dashing up stairs two-by-two. Don’t let them see you sweat. Don’t let them hear you obviously gasp as you try to catch your breath. You can do intervals on the stairs, like dash up three flights and rest for 30 seconds. You can also do calf raises on these bad boys.

6. Wall sits

Most offices have walls. Find one and sit on it for at least 30 seconds. Better yet, get into a competition with your coworkers. They’ll either be impressed by your ability to sit for five minutes straight, or pity you for giving in after three seconds.

7. Bathroom stall pull ups

I legitimately stole this one from Men’s Journal. I saw it and thought, “That looks disgusting.”

And then I thought, “What if it works?” And so I went to the bathroom and tried one. WOOOOOOWWWW, that was a LOT harder than I thought it would be. So it definitely works, if you’re into doing pull ups.

8. Desk stretches

Are you constantly hunched over that your desk that you look like you should be riding Seabiscuit? Do some stretches instead. Bend over and touch your toes (or knees, if you’re not as flexible as me. I get it.). Stretch your shoulder blades. Stretch your hands to prevent carpal tunnel. Do a backbend and impress your coworkers. (Trust me, I’D be impressed. I can’t do one to save my life.)

9. Planks and ab variations

You don’t use your core to sit, which will likely make it weaker. Break up your time at the desk by doing a plank for 30 seconds and move up from there. If the carpet isn’t too offensive, do some ab workouts.

10. Desk tricep dips

All you have to do is get the chair out of the way and turn away from your desk and start dipping. I sometimes get bored of tricep dips, so if you’re into a challenge, put your feet on your chair and use that to up the challenge. Bonus points for balance if it’s a roller chair.

If, after reading this, you have decided, “…I’ll just go to the gym instead,” then that’s okay too—just know that on those days where you’re pretty sure you’ll be too tired to hit the gym, you can try some of these other options instead. You’ll get weird looks for sure, but at least you’re moving.

Published by Liesl Hammer

Copywriter. B2B, B2C. I've written in the travel, ecommerce, health, and marketing niches.

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