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20 Minute Desk Workout

Daily exercise gives huge health benefits, but it’s not always easy to carve out time from your busy day to hit the gym or jog around the block. Fortunately, thirty minutes a day doesn’t have to be all at once – health experts tout the importance of getting that movement in, even if it means breaking up your routine.


Consult a Physician

Always consult your doctor before taking on a new exercise routine to avoid health risk.

Knee Lift

1. Site near edge of chair and hold armrests or seat for support
2. Lean back 45 degrees and bring knees to chest
3. Slowly extend legs diagonally upward; hold for a count of 5
4. Bring knees back to chest and return feet to floor
5. Do 15 to 20 reps

Diagonal Chop

1. Sit in chair holding your purse with both hands near right hip and torso rotated to right
2. Rotating torso to left, raise arms diagonally upward to hold purse above left shoulder
3. Return to start to complete 1 rep
4. Do 15 to 20 reps

Wall Squat

1. Stand with back against wall, feet hip-width apart about 2 feet from wall
2. Cross arms in front of chest and relax shoulders
3. Bend knees until thighs are almost parallel to floor
4. Hold for 1 or 2 minutes

Reverse Plank

1. Sit near edge of chair, grasp side of seat with hands and straighten legs in front of you, feet together and flat on floor
2. Straighten arms and lift hips until body forms a line from head to toe
3. Hold for a count of 3; lower to seat
4. Do 12 to 15 reps

Too Busy?

If you have trouble working out before or after work, there are several ways to get your workout in during the day without sacrificing valuable work time.

Walk to Talk

If you need to communicate with someone down the hall, on another floor, or even next door to your office, get on your feet and walk to their space instead of paging or emailing them.

Take the Long Way

Take the stairs, park further away, and take the long way to the copy room. Consider getting a pedometer to track your daily steps, calculate how much you’re walking now, and then set a goal to increase your steps by 500, or 1,000, or whatever you are comfortable with, per day.

Sneaky Exercises

It may not be serious aerobic exercise, but something as simple as clenching and releasing your muscles at your desk can count as a brief workout. Clench and release thigh, calf, abdominal, or glute muscles and release to get a few minutes in at your desk. Consider investing in a small step machine that can work your legs while you sit, or do leg lifts under the desk – raise your feet up off the floor, hold, and release. If you can, consider replacing your desk chair with an inflatable exercise ball to engage your core muscles and encourage good posture at your desk.

Location, Location, Location

Take advantage of space in an unused office, conference room, or even bathroom. You can do squats, lunges, jumping jacks, or yoga poses in the larger space for a few minutes on your way to the break room or to pick up printing.

Give Yourself a Break

Take advantage of your lunch break to take a walk outside (or even around the building if it is too hot or cold to go out comfortably), stretch, do some kickboxing moves in an empty conference room, etc. Take advantage of the time you have for a break and use it to get in a few more minutes of valuable exercise.

These are just a few ideas to incorporate exercise into your office routine. If you work from home, it’s even easier to get in a few minutes throughout the day – walk the dog, stretch in the living room, take a jog around the block, etc. The possibilities are endless, and the health benefits are worth it.

About Caitlin

Caitlin is a writer and blogger based in northeast Ohio. In addition to freelance writing and maintaining her minimalist living blog, Caitlin uses her experience as a work at home woman to contribute helpful articles to home furniture and eco friendly living websites. Feel free to engage Caitlin on twitter: @bornagainmin or Google plus. View all posts by Caitlin →