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How to Stay Fit At Work & Exercise at Your Desk

Breaking news: Experts now think that sitting down for long periods is as bad for us as smoking!

If you’re reading this sitting down at your office desk, you might want to stand up....

Studies show that we increase our risk of dying from heart disease, and many other diseases and illnesses just by spending too long sitting down.  The easiest thing we can do to prevent this risk is by simply standing up more.

So because sitting down all day in an office is bad for us what can we do? The average office worker spends at least 8 hours, 5 days a week in an office environment, the big question is how we can reduce the amount of time spent sat down?

How Much Exercise Do Office Workers Need?

According to the NHS to stay healthy we need to do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week to stay healthy, and we should spend 2 or 3 days doing strength exercises.

How Much Exercise Do Office Workers Actually Do?  

A survey of 2,000 office workers conducted between the group Get Britain Standing and the British Heart Foundation charity suggests that office workers don’t do anywhere near enough exercise as they should:

  • 45% of women and 37% of men spend less than 30 minutes a day up on their feet
  • More than half regularly sit at their desk to eat their lunch
  • 78% of office workers felt they spent too much time sitting down

This shows that office workers don’t do as much exercise as is recommended to keep them healthy.

5 exercises you can do at your office desk

5 Exercises you can do whilst sitting at your office desk

As we all know working long hours in the office is eating away at the amount of time you can exercise for. However, you can still find time to exercise whilst sitting at your desk doing your work.

Here are 5 pain free exercises you can do whilst sitting at your desk (you might even want to make them part of your daily routine).

1. Ankle Rotations

    Keep your ankles in a good condition with some simple ankle rotations. To do this rotate your ankles in both directions for 5 seconds. To improve the flexibility of your ankles repeat this exercise 8 times in each direction.

    2. Shoulder Shrugs

       Just because you’re sat at an office desk for most of the day doesn’t mean you can’t move your upper body for something other than typing or writing. 

      To release your neck and shoulders inhale deeply and shrug your shoulders. Lift them high up to yours ears hold this position then release and drop. Repeat this 3 times to loosen up the upper body.

      3. Calf Muscle Toning

        As we spend a lot of time sat at our desks it’s important to stretch our leg muscles whenever we can.

        Stretch your calf muscles by raising your legs onto your tip toes whilst remaining seated hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat 7 times you should feel your calf muscles burn whilst doing this exercise.

        4. Leg Lifts

          Everyone wants strong thigh muscles and a healthy core, but we’re often too busy to have a serious routine at the gym, but don’t worry you can have your own routine at your desk to help tone your legs.

          Start with both feet flat on the floor and then lift your legs. First, lift your left leg and then the right lift make sure each leg touched the underneath of your desk to ensure you are getting the most out of these muscles. Lift each leg for 5 seconds and repeat this exercise 3 times to strengthen your thighs and core

          Leg Lifts

          5. Wrist Rolls 

          Every hour or so take a break from typing to roll your wrists. Roll the wrists 10 times clockwise, then 10 times anticlockwise. This will help to minimise your risk of getting repetitive strain injury from typing too much.


          4 Exercises to do in the office

          Although doing exercises whilst sat at your office desk is a great way to start being more active, but the truth is if you can break away from your desk you will really feel the benefit.

          Here are 4 exercises you can do in the office to get you moving:

          1. Step Aerobics

            We all know sitting down for a long period of time is bad for us. Some have even said sitting at your desk all day is as bad for you as smoking.

            Take action by getting out of your chair and finding a quiet stairwell in your office whilst on your 10 minute break. Quickly step up and down on the bottom step for 10 minutes on your break to get your heart racing.

            Step Aerobics

            2. Star Jumps

              People who spend a lot of time sitting down at their office desk have an increased risk of weight gain and heart disease.

              Start by doing star jumps for 5 minutes to improve your heart health, strength and endurance and then move on to 10 minutes. Stand with your feet together, hands at your sides. Jump and extend your legs to shoulder width apart, whilst bringing your arms together over your head.

              Star Jumps

              3. Wall Push-Ups

                The overall aim is to increase the number of calories you burn. Try doing some wall push-ups when you get a free moment. It’s a great exercise to do whilst you’re in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil.

                To do this exercise you need to place your hands flat on the wall, shoulder width apart. Bending from the elbows, use your arms to push yourself out from the wall back in towards it do this for 1 minute and repeat 3 times.

                Wall Push-Ups

                4. Wall Sits

                  Being more active can help increase your productivity and concentration levels. Doing this sitting/standing exercise will give you a variety of exercises to do which will help keep you motivated.

                  To do this exercise lean against a wall with your legs in front of you to ensure you can move them. Slide down the wall until your legs are bent at a 90 degree angle and hold this position for 1 minute. Repeat this exercise 3 times to feel the burn and help build strength and endurance in your glutes and quads.

                  Wall Sits

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