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Desk exercises to promote office fitness

Published: Friday 19th July 2019

People spend more time seated than ever before, especially in an office work environment. In fact, it’s thought that a typical office worker spends as much as nine hours per day in a seat. Clearly, that’s not good for health or fitness.

Observational data indicate that the more sedentary you are, the more likely you are to die early. Fortunately, there is plenty you can do to become more active in the workplace, spend less time seated and improve your fitness. Obviously, if you’re lucky enough to have a gym at work, you should use it, but even short bursts of low-impact exercise during your working day can make a huge difference to your health and levels of fitness!

Businessman doing desk exercise in front of computer at office

Easy tips on improving your workforce fitness

  • Think about how your staff gets to work. There are many ways to get exercise while commuting. Could they walk? Or even use a mix of public transport and walk part of the way? Alternatively, is it possible to cycle?
  • Next, consider how they get around at work. If you work in a multi-story building, encourage people to start using the stairs instead of the elevator. Instead of sending an email to someone in another part of the building, go visit them? Don’t eat your lunch at your desk. Get out and about. Go for a walk. And if you’re on a call, there’s no need to be seated. Walk about!
  • There are many subtle workouts you can do at your desk. Simply taking turns at contracting muscle groups, such as your abdomen or glutes can make a difference. Did you know that a simple calve raise can burn 34 calories?
  • Less subtle exercises might draw some strange looks from your fellow workers but can really take your office fitness to the next level. For instance, to exercise your chest and shoulders, place both hands on your chair arms and slowly lift your bottom off the chair. Lower yourself back down but stop short of the seat, hold for a few seconds. Do this 15 times.

Young businesswoman doing exercise in front of her laptop with lots of sticky notes

  • Alternatively, try to get other office workers involved for a 10-minute exercise session twice a day, then everyone won’t look so out of place. A wall sit is simple but effective as it works your entire body, especially your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. There are quite a few variations on this, but the basic technique involves holding yourself against a wall in a seated position – something that you can do while waiting for the kettle to boil during a tea break!
  • Mini-weights can be used for a wide variety of exercises while seated.
  • If you’ve been in the same position focussing intensely on a specific task, make sure you take breaks to do some stretching exercises.
  • If you’re really finding it difficult to get away from your seat, consider granting employees access to a standing desk, or allow workers to bring instability balls.  These are excellent for giving your legs and abdominal muscles a low-intensity workout.

The importance of staying healthy at work can’t be over-emphasised. Fortunately, more employers are realising that it’s important to give employees both the facilities and the time to stay in shape. After all, a healthy worker is a productive worker.

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