How to Stay Fit at Your Desk

Robyn Norgan
Jan 14, 2014

I know many of us have some kind of get in shape/lose weight/be more active New Year's resolution for 2014. Well, hopefully you haven't already given up on your New Year's resolutions as January isn't even over yet! Either way, we're definitely on board with being healthier in the new year and every little bit helps. Unfortunately, not all of us can have a standing - or even better - a treadmill desk, but there are little things that all of us can do to help stay fit at our desks:

1. Take the Stairs

Okay, so this isn't something you can do at your desk, but it's still important! If your office is not on the ground level, skip the elevator and take the stairs. Even if you're way up on the 22nd level, you can still get off a few floors early to at least walk up a couple flights of stairs everyday.

2. Squat

Don't just plop down into your chair - squat down! Before you officially take a seat, allow your body to hold you up, hovering over your chair. Do this a couple of times before you let yourself settle in for the work day and don't forget to repeat a few times throughout the day.

3. Push Yourself Around

Do you sit in a chair with wheels? Take a few moments out of your day to push yourself around (instead of letting your boss do it). Pushing yourself back and forth from your desk will get your arms working. Plus, if you want to feel like a kid again, you can give yourself a hard push away from your desk and roll around your office at high speed.

4. Tap Your Feet

Do you listen to music at work? If you do, you may already be doing a little exercise without even realizing it! Tapping your feet (whether to the beat or not) can get your blood flowing, your muscles working, and even increase your heart rate. If you need some inspiration, check out Pandora or Spotify. Both have free options and you can customize your radio stations. Just make sure you aren't tapping your feet too loud and bothering others around you!

5. Lift Your Feet

You've already tapped your feet, now it's time to lift them. Make those hip flexors and quads work by lifting each foot completely off the floor and holding it up for a few seconds.

6. Contract Your Muscles

There are many muscles in your body that you can work out without anybody even noticing. Contracting your abs and glutes, in particular, can give you a great workout without even leaving your chair. Plus, none of your co-workers will be the wiser.

7. Get Up More

It may be convenient to have everything you need at your desk, but you need to make sure you're getting up and walking around throughout the day as well. Keep some water on your desk - it'll serve a dual purpose: you'll stay hydrated and you'll have to get up to refill it throughout the day. You can also use your lunch as a time to get out of the office and walk around. You can even start a walking group with fellow co-workers who also want to stay healthy!

8. Reach for the Stars

You might already find yourself doing this - especially at the end of a long work day. Stretching your arms up and reaching for the stars can practically give you a whole body stretch even if you're seated. Make sure to move side to side to stretch out your oblique muscles and front to back to stretch your back and abs.

9. Point Your Toes

Reaching for the stars may cover the upper half of your body, but don't forget about the lower half! Stretch your leg up while seated and point your toes forward and then up to the sky to get your leg muscles moving and stretching.

10. Cross Your Legs

You might be wondering why I'm saying to cross your legs when you usually hear that doing that is bad for circulation. It's true crossing your legs is bad for circulation, but what I'm recommending is crossing your ankle over your lower quad (near the knee, but not directly on it) and making your leg look like the number 4. From here, lean forward and you should feel a good stretch in the hip of the leg that is crossed.

11. Roll Your Shoulders

A long day of sitting in front of the computer can make your shoulders hunch forward. Take a moment to roll your shoulders back, trying to get your shoulder blades as close to each other as possible. Release and repeat a few times and make sure you do this throughout the day.

12. Roll Your Head

The shoulders and neck are where most people carry their stress, so now that you've rolled out your shoulders, you can't forget about your head and neck. Take your neck around slowly from side to side, allowing those muscles to stretch out. If you need a little more stretch, gently place your head on the top of your head and let gravity pull it out more. Just make sure you don't push or pull your head as doing that can cause injury.

Hopefully these tips will help you stay a little bit healthier in 2014. I know many of us spend a lot of time sitting at our desk and it can be hard to get in that necessary exercise. Want more desk health tips? Check out our past post on eye health tips for those of us who stare at a computer all day.

Robyn Norgan
This post was written by Robyn Norgan, who recommends incorporating some fun into your workout routine to help keep yourself going. There are lots of "fun runs" these days such as the 5k Color Me Rad pictured above.