How to keep moving while at work

Keeping yourself active while at work is a tough thing. Many of us are at desk jobs with almost no movement at all in our lives except for the commute between home and work, and the commute from our desk to the lunch bar. So how and why should you keep yourself active?

For one thing, if you keep your body active day-to-day, it can improve your mood, make you feel more awake and energetic, relieves stress and improves your sleep too.

Here are some exercises that you can scatter across your workday, consisting of 30-40 second sets. If you include these short sets of exercises throughout your day, say every half an hour from 9:30 to 16:30, then you will have completed 7-10 minutes of exercise by the end of your workday.


LEG RAISES (Quads & Hamstrings)


  1. All you have to do here is sit down on your chair.
  2. Then raise your leg out straight ahead of you. Remember to engage your muscles while tensing as you lift.
  3. Relax as you lower.

Inhale: Going down.

Exhale: Going up.


WALL SIT (Core & Quads)


  1. Go to a sturdy wall (one that you can lean on) and press your back against it.
  2. Then lower yourself down so you come into a sitting position with your thighs parallel to the floor and your knees bent at 90-degrees (if you can). Tense up as you engage your core and leg muscles and hold this position for 30-40 seconds or as long as you can.

Inhale and exhale deeply during this exercise.


Abductions: As you are holding your wall sit, squeeze your glutes and bring your knees out and then bring them back in, repeating as many times as you can.

Single leg: Instead of balancing on two legs, stick one leg out in front of you and balance on one to feel the burn in your leg.

Weighted: Hold a dumbbell, kettlebell or weighted plate in both hands to your chest or rest it on your thighs as you hold your wall sit. You can even perform some arm exercises to make this a full-body workout.


SEATED DIP (Chest, Shoulders & Triceps)



  1. Get a secure platform one that won’t move whilst you are dipping, preferably one that is about chair height.
  2. Sit on your bench/chair with your hands beside you holding on to the edge of the bench. Your knees should be at 90-degrees and your feet should be firmly on the floor. You can also extend your legs out with your heels on the ground.
  3. Then lift yourself off the bench and lower your body towards the ground, bending the elbows and knees, until you are as far down as you can go.
  4. Now straighten your arms as you lift yourself up. Use your arms to do the lifting and keep your back as straight as possible, don’t be tempted to raise your hips up.

Inhale: Going down.

Exhale: Going up.


Platform: Instead of having your feet on the floor, raised them onto a box or another chair.


SQUATS (Glutes, Hamstrings & Quads)


  1. Stand straight and space your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Tighten your core and bend your knees like you are going to sit down. Make sure your back is kept straight and your arms are out in front of you or tucked in near your chest. Keep your knees just above your toes and your thighs should be parallel to the floor.
  3. Once you’re down, straighten your legs back up.

Inhale: Going down.

Exhale: Going up.


Abductors: Squat down, then when your legs are at a 90-degree angle squeeze your glutes and push your knees out sideways. For an extra challenge use some resistance bands to make this even harder.

Jacks: Squat down and then, as you squeeze your glutes to lift yourself up, jump a little and bring your legs in together quickly so your feet are hip-width apart. Squat down into a narrow squat before jumping up again and separating your legs into a normal squat.

Jump: Squat down and get up again, however as you raise your body, squeeze your glutes and jump on the balls of your feet so that you lift up into the air. When you land either stop still to kill the momentum or squat down straight away.

Leg lift: This time, instead of standing up normally after a squat, lift up and balance on one leg while you squeeze your glutes and kick your other leg back or to the side of you.

Narrow: Stand with your feet hip-width apart instead of shoulder width.

Pistol: Balance on one leg with your other leg pointing out in front of you. Squat down maintaining this position, sticking out your arms at your side, if needed for extra balance.

Pulse: Squat down then, as you raise yourself, stop when you get a quarter to halfway up and squat down again before standing up fully.

Sumo: Have your feet even wider than your original stance so your thighs have roughly a 90-degree angle to each other like you’re a sumo wrestler, and squat down.

Three-pointer: Start by performing a narrow squat, then step or jump into a normal squat and then into a sumo squat. After than go from a sumo squat to a normal then to a narrow squat.

Weighted: Hold a dumbbell or a kettlebell in both hands and keep it up to your chest as you squat up and down.


SEATED CRUNCH (Abs & Oblique’s)


  1. Start by sitting on your chair with your hands on either side of you.
  2. Gently pull your abs together and curl your legs up towards you. Make sure your use your core to lift your legs up and not your legs or the momentum of the movement.
  3. Hold for a moment and then gently lower yourself back down to the starting position. Don’t drop your legs down, do it nice and controlled.

Inhale: Lower your legs.

Exhale: Crunching your legs up.


GLUTE BRIDGES (Core & Glutes)


  1. Lie flat on your back and bend your knees so that your feet lie flat on the floor at hip-width apart.
  2. Place your arms down the side of you with your palms flat on the floor.
  3. Engage your glutes as you lift your hips off the floor making a straight line of your body, from your knees to your shoulders.
  4. Pause in this position for a second and slowly lower your hips down to the ground.

Inhale: Lower your hips to the ground.

Exhale: As you thrust your hips up.


Abductors: Perform your normal glute bridge, when your hips get to the top, squeeze your glutes again and push your knees out to the side and then back into the original position before lowering your hips.

Frog: For this variation put your feet together and separate your knees as far as possible, so your legs looks like it’s in a diamond shape. Maintain this shape through your whole movement.

Hold: Perform our glute bridge, but when you get to the top hold your position between 30-60 seconds. Squeezing your glutes the whole time.

Marching: As you lift your hips raise one of your legs, keeping it bent, and bring that knee towards your chest. Lower your leg back down to the ground when you lower your hips down as well. Repeat on your other leg and alternate like you are marching.

Narrow: Place your feet together.

Pulse: When you perform your glute bridge, instead of lowering your hips  to the bottom, lower them halfway and thrust your hips up once more before lowering your bum completely to the ground.

Raise: Place your feet on a step or a box to increase the height of your glute bridge.

Single-leg: Either stick out the inactive leg straight in front of you as you perform your glute bridge, or cross it over your other leg, letting your ankle rest above your other knee.

Walkout: Raise your hips to the top of your glute bridge and hold. Then, keeping your hips high, take one step forward followed by the other foot. After, take one step back to your original stance and repeat this ‘walk’ for 30-60 seconds. If your legs are long try for two steps or do two mini ones if you want.

Weighted: You can increase the challenge by holding a weight on your stomach.

Wide: Place your feet inline or outside your shoulder line.


LEG CURL (Glutes, Hamstrings & Quads)


  1. Stand up straight.
  2. Then bend your knee as you lift your foot towards your bum. Balance on your other leg or hold onto a wall or chair for extra balance support. Your thighs should be parallel to each other and your raised leg should have the knee facing towards the ground. Your back should be straights whilst you are performing this stretch and your core and glutes should be engaged (tensed) as you lift and hold your leg up for 15-20 seconds.
  3. Slowly release your leg to the ground and repeat on your other leg.

Inhale and exhale deeply during this exercise.


LUNGES (Core, Glutes, Hamstring & Quads)


  1. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. With one leg, step in front of you leaving the other leg in its original position.
  3. Bend both knees to a 90-degree angle, so that the back knee almost touches the ground and the forward thigh is parallel to the floor.
  4. Once there, push up by squeezing your glutes bringing your forward leg back towards your starting position. Repeat this movement on the same leg or alternate legs.

Inhale: On your way down.

Exhale: Lift up.


Alternate: Perform a forward lunge then move straight into a reverse lunge by bringing your front leg back, past your stationary leg.

Curtsy: When you perform your lunge take a step back instead of forward but bring your leg over to the other side of your stationary leg like you are curtsying.

Jump: If you really want to feel the burn in your legs, start by doing a forward lunge then, when you are lifting yourself up, lift both of your feet off the ground with a jump and quickly switch your leg positions over so you are now lunging on the other leg.

Lifted leg: Get into a lunge position with one foot in front of the other, but raise your hind leg onto a surface roughly knee-high. Perform your lunge keeping your core tight for stability.

Pulse: When you are performing a lunge, instead of lifting yourself  to a standing position raise yourself halfway before lowering yourself into a full lunge and then stand up straight.

Reverse: Instead of stepping forward, take a step back and perform your lunge and then return to your starting position.

Side: Step out to the side as you perform your lunge instead of forward.

Skater: Perform a reverse lunge, but this time keep your hindfoot off the ground so you’re balancing on one leg the whole time.

Walking: Take a step forward and perform your lunge, but instead of taking a step back to return to your original position, bring your hind leg forward until it passes your front leg until you can perform another forward lunge. Keep doing this so you are walking around performing lunges. If space is restrictive why not do two forward lunges then two reverse lunges?

Weighted: Hold a weight or a pair of weights as perform your lunge.


HAMMER CURLS (Bicep & Upper and Forearm Muscles)

Dumbbells, Kettlebells


  1. Stand up straight with your palms facing your body and your arms down beside you holding your weights.
  2. Bend your elbow and lift your weight up ahead of you and towards your shoulder (don’t touch your shoulder though), keeping your upper arms stationary.
  3. Slowly lower your arms back down to your side again. You can alternate arms or do them both at the same time.

Inhale: As you lower your arms.

Exhale: As your lift your arms.


CALF RAISES (Calves & Hamstrings)


  1. Stand up straight and lift your heels off the floor while you balance on the balls of your feet.
  2. Lower yourself. You can do this exercise at a fast pace or a slow and gentle pace. That is up to you.

Inhale: On your way down.

Exhale: Lift up.


Platform: To lengthen your range of motion, stand on a platform with your heels hanging over the edge.

Weight: If you want killer calves, hold a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells whilst performing this exercise.


DEADLIFT (Focus: Lower Back, Glutes & Hamstrings)

Barbell, Plates


  1. Stand with your feet a little more than hip-width apart and your arms just outside your legs, holding your barbell.
  2. Bend your knees and push your hips back, keeping your back straight.
  3. Your weights should be in line with the middle of your foot and your shoulders in line with the weights.
  4. Lift yourself up, as your weights follow an imaginary vertical straight line. Your chest should be out and so should your hips.
  5. At the mid-way point, bring your hips in and straighten your body.
  6. Once at the top, lower your weights back down to the floor. Your bum should not go lower than your knees when you bend down. It is best if they are slightly above the knee line.

Inhale: Before you lift and hold as you perform the lift.

Exhale: Lowering your weights.


Block: Instead of picking your weights up from the floor, set them on a box or a weighted plate.

Deficit: Perform the deadlift, but this time elevate yourself on a box or a weighted plate. This will lengthen the distance you need to lift the bar which will increase your range of motion and your strength.

Single-leg: Perform this movement balancing on one leg. To perform this lift, place a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of you. Balance on one of your legs and lean forward as you would on a normal deadlift only this time stick your other leg out behind you. Hold your weight in both hands and lift yourself up, or you can lift your weight with one hand and use the other hand to hold on to something for balance. This will improve your core and stability and will allow you to even any unevenness found in your glutes and hamstrings.

Sumo: For this variation, have your feet positioned outside of your shoulder line. It improves mobility and puts more effort on the hamstrings, hips and quads and less on the back.

Wide-grip: Well this is in the name. Instead of gripping the bar just outside your legs, gradually move your grip further away from this original stance. It will work your back and traps even harder than before and will also increase your range of motion for this lift.


ROWS (Shoulders & Upper Back)

  1. You can do this exercise with or without a resistance band. If you do want a resistance band then hold one end of the band with the other tied securely around a door or sturdy post.
  2. Pull back your arms so that your upper arm is pointing straight down and your elbows are bent. Pinch in your shoulder blades as you do this to engage your back and shoulder muscles.
  3. Slowly release.

Inhale: When you release.

Exhale: As you pull back.



SEATED ARM RAISE STRETCH (Upper Back & Shoulders)

  1. Place your hands on your thighs as you sit up straight.
  2. Then raise your arms, stretching your upper and mid-back as you do so. Keep your arms the same distance apart as you lift up.

Inhale: Lower your arm.

Exhale: Raise your arms.


PEC STRETCH (Chest & Shoulders)

  1. To perform this stretch go to your door and open it.
  2. Then place your arms on either side of the doorway with your elbows at 90 degrees (though you can have your arms slightly lower and higher to stretch different parts of your back).
  3. Lean forward with a leg out in front of you for balance and support and feel your back stretching.
  4. Hold as you deeply inhale and exhale. You can also perform this exercise without using a doorway.

Inhale and exhale deeply during this exercise.



  1. Place your right hand over your head and on the left side of your face.
  2. Then gently pull down until you feel a nice stretch in your upper back, shoulders and neck. Remember to keep your back straight and your left arm and shoulder down.
  3. Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Inhale and exhale deeply during this exercise.


HIP FLEXOR STRETCH (Front of the Hips)

  1. Get down on the floor in a kneeling position with one leg stretched out behind you and the other with a 90-degree bend at its knee and the foot on the floor.
  2. Bend the angled knee forward until you feel a stretch in your hips and along the thigh of your leg behind you. Keep your core engaged for stability and your back straight though-out the motion.
  3. Inhale and exhale steadily as you hold this pose for 15-20 seconds before repeating on the other side.

Inhale and exhale deeply during this exercise.


CHILD POSE (Lower Back)

  1. This is not a pose where you just curl up and lay your hands out in front of you. At least, not if you are doing this correctly. To perform this stretch properly, sit on your knees.
  2. Next, slowly bring your upper body down as you place your arms out in front of you beside your head.
  3. Press your chest, not your shoulders, towards the ground and feel a nice stretch along your spine.

Inhale and exhale deeply during this exercise.


You can also:

If these exercises don’t sound right for you then why not go for short walks? Aim to have a decent moderate-intensity walk for at least 30 minutes per day. You don’t have to do it in one big chunk though, you might want to split it into three 10 minute chunks or six 5 minute chunks instead. Why not set a timer at every o’clock so you can take consistent breaks and have a bit of a stretch and walk around for a while? If you do this it can also make your day feel like it’s going quicker, as you can look forward to those short hourly breaks.

If you want to give your core a good workout while working, why not sit on a fitness ball? This will help to improve your balance and posture, as well as strengthen your core and back muscles too. This is an excellent way to strengthen the muscles that are often weakened at desk jobs.

If you want to go the extra mile or have a bit of extra cash that you don’t mind spending, why not invest in a stand-up desk? Standing burns more calories than sitting down as your body is working to keep your body weight up and balanced, unlike sitting.

You might also want to invest in a treadmill. You can step on it while you are on a work call or having a 5-10 minute break. It's an excellent way to burn calories and increase your exercise while on the job.



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