Easy Ways to Work Out at Work

work out at work

Finding time to exercise is a challenge for anyone with a busy schedule.  Between my full-time job at Perimeter Park and my other full-time job as a single mom, I don’t have the time (or energy) to spend an hour or two a day at the gym.  Getting up early to run before work hasn’t really happened like I had planned, either.  So what’s a busy girl (or guy) who wants to be healthier to do?

The answer is deceptively simple.  Why not work out while I’m at work?  I’m here 8+ hours a day, for crying out loud.  Surely I can work some movement in at some point during the day.

I’ve searched the web for some easy ways to make office exercise part of my daily routine.  Here are some of the best ones:

Walk or bike to work, get off the bus a few blocks early or park farther from the door.

With a 45 minute (on a good day) commute, I don’t live close enough to be able to walk or bike.  Hence my goal to be more disciplined about getting up and getting a mile or so in before work (which I actually did this morning, thankyouverymuch).  The bus is also out for me.  But, my building does have a HUGE parking lot, and I can park on the opposite end from my office and walk farther than usual.  And toting my laptop bag, lunch bag, and purse across the parking lot could be considered weight training . . .

Look for opportunities to add more steps throughout your day.

This could be as simple as getting up every hour or so and taking a lap around the office or building, walking up and down a flight of stairs, delivering a message to a colleague in person, or using the restroom farthest away from you.  My building has a 2nd floor restroom on the opposite end of the building from me, so I walk to the other side of the building and up a flight of steps to get there.  Built in exercise.  Set a timer on your phone or computer to remind you to get up and move, if you have to.

You can also take the stairs instead of the elevator if your building has multiple stories.  If you are on the 10th floor, though, I wouldn’t recommend hiking all 10 stories.  You don’t want to actually look/smell like you’ve been to the gym when you exercise at work.  You can, however, get off the elevator a floor or two down and take the stairs the rest of the way.

Look for opportunities to stand.  Try a standing desk, or improvise with a high table or counter.

We have a client who has chronic back issues and swears by the do-it-yourself standing desk he built in his office.  While my office isn’t set up for that, I can take opportunities to stand by taking time to file things as they come in versus letting them accumulate into a pile.  I can also stand while I am relieving the receptionist during breaks and at lunch.

Trade your office chair for a fitness ball.

If you have a private office, this might work for you.   As it is, we have an open door policy at work, and the last thing I would want would be for a client or potential client to see me fall off the thing.   As an alternative, I do try to sit up as straight as I can when I catch myself slumping down in my chair.  I can, however, try the fitness ball thing at home in the evening while watching TV, reading, or working on stuff in my home office.

Organize a lunchtime walking group.

My boss and I try to walk at lunch time, as time and the day permits.  I used an app to measure the walking distance around our building, and four trips around the perimeter of the parking lot is around a mile.  If we can’t walk outside because it is way too hot, cold, or raining, I have also figured out that 9 round trips from our suite entrance through the building hallways to the other end and back is also about a mile.

Conduct walking meetings.

In my building, this would work best outside and not inside because of space constraints.  Also, you would need to make sure that you aren’t disturbing others around you if you attempt to do this indoors.

Use your office furniture/equipment as exercise equipment.

  • Do a set triceps dips using your desk for leverage every time you come back to your desk from somewhere.
  • Do a set of biceps curls or triceps extensions with reams of paper when you need to refill your printer/copier.
  • Shut your door every so often and do push ups, planks, or wall squats for 60 seconds.

What about you?  Do you try to sneak some exercise into your work day?  What are your tips?

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