Staying active during the workday can be a challenge for people who sit at a desk all day. This is especially true on days when you’re so busy it feels like there’s rarely an opportunity to look away from your computer, much less get up and move around.
Luckily, there are many ways to stay active in the office, even if you can’t manage to leave your desk. Check out these stretching and movement ideas from ergonomic pros, fitness experts and health advocates:
1. SUBTLY BOOST YOUR BURN
“Add extra resistance to your movement, turning that quick walk from your desk to your printer into an opportunity to tone and burn. You can wear discreet ankle weights or body weights.”
– Frank Yao, co-founder and CEO of Physiclo
2. DO A WATER CHALLENGE
“Challenge yourself to drink 10, 8-ounce glasses of water throughout the day. Not only will you have to continually get up and refill your water, you’ll need to head to the bathroom, too. Added bonus: Drinking water is great for you, so you’re kind of winning on all fronts.”
– Amina AlTai, owner of Busy Happy Healthy
To make it easy to track your water intake, log it with MyFitnessPal.
3. SET YOUR ACTIVITY TRACKER
“The best way to start keeping yourself more accountable for your activity level is to get an activity tracker. You can set your tracker to vibrate on your wrist to remind you that you’ve been sitting too long and it is time to get up and move.”
– Mandy McClellan, accessories buyer for Fit2Run, The Runner’s Superstore
4. START DELIVERING “IN-PERSON EMAILS”
“Visit a colleague’s desk to deliver a message instead of sending an email. The trip will get you out of your desk chair and give you a fun, social reason to walk around the office. Plus, you’ll get the added bonus of some face time with a colleague, who will also appreciate the break from emails!”
– Eve Martin, CEO and founder of Elm Tree Medical Inc.
5. SET RULES THAT MOTIVATE MOVEMENT
“Cut off taking advantage of workplace supplies at noon so you have to leave [the office] and go get a snack or coffee from somewhere further away from your workstation.”
– Katie Johnson, outreach and PR Strategist for StandDesk.co.
6. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
“Remember, we are trying to replicate the experience of working in the fields or factory without all the heavy lifting and sweating. If you have an adjustable desk, you can listen to your body and you can move periodically throughout the day. You now have the freedom to move when it is convenient and when your body tells you that you need to.
“Stand for a few minutes when you get to your desk after a long commute. Stand while you take a phone call. Stand after lunch to help maintain your focus and avoid the afternoon crash. Stand when your back feels a little tight or your neck is stiff. Adjustments give you freedom and that is good for your body and your mind!”
– What You Should Know Before You Take a Stand, Workrite
7. PERFORM A DESK WORKOUT
Try this desk workout from Meghan Kennihan, NASM personal trainer.
- Desk pushups offer great for toning the arms. Place your hands on your desk, walk your feet back to a 45-degree angle and do 10–15 pushups.
- Shoulder squeezes helps prevent a hunched posture. Pretend there’s a pencil between your shoulder blades, squeeze them together and hold for 10–20 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
- Sit and stands tones your legs and butt. Stand in front of your chair and lower yourself down until your butt hits the edge of the chair and stand back up (make sure your chair is secure). Repeat 20 times.
- Desk dips are perfect for toning your triceps. Face away from your desk and place your hands shoulder-width apart with fingers facing you, legs extended. Dip down until your elbows make a 90-degree angle; press back up 10–15 times.
- Wall Sit: Stand against the wall and slide down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle directly over your ankles. Hold for 30–60 seconds and repeat 5 times.