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Marek Struszczyk

Co-Founder ManagerUp

Last modified: June 22nd, 2023

In general, when we think about what we do with our time at work it consists of meetings, to-do lists and overseeing the operations of our companies. Working out at work is likely never on this list and these activities usually require a lot of sitting.

Sitting increases our chances of back problems and is more likely to lead to obesity-related illnesses.

According to a study done by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, they concluded that exercise has a tremendous and preventative effect on morbidity and premature death. We can conclude from this that exercise can increase our lifespan!

Part of leading an organization is caring for the well-being of yourself as well as that of the employees. Not taking care of yourself will reflect poorly on your company and subordinates.

 As executives and managers, we’re likely busy from the moment we walk into the office to the moment we go home, so how would there be any time to workout at work?

One solution is to try walking more. Walk to work or, park far away from the door of your office so you can get in a few extra steps before you start your day and before you head home in the evening.

There are so many easy ways to get in an easy workout at work! Don’t worry, you won’t be sweaty or out of breath for your next meeting but, you’ll be able to get in some movement and activity that can easily be added to your daily work routine.

Executive Summary:

workout at work

1. Take the Stairs

Taking the stairs is the single easiest way to get in a workout at work. Most office buildings have a few sets of stairs so challenge yourself to stop using the elevator and get your heart rate up. By taking the stairs you’ll be burning calories, building strong leg muscles, and working to keep your heart strong and healthy.

2. Use a Cycling or Treadmill Desk

exercise at your desk

According to a study done by the American Heart Association sedentary jobs have increased by 83% since 1950 and, with the reliance on technology, people are having to find more creative ways to combat this.

Enter the cycling desk or the desk exercise bike.  These are great options for someone who just really needs to stay put at their desk most of the day.


3. Under Desk Elliptical

exercise at your desk

Under Desk Elliptical is another great option for the executive who needs to stay put at their desk! This compact device sits under your desk and can help you stay more active while staying seated.

You can take phones calls and meet with others and not have to worry because it’s quiet and won’t bother anyone else. Just sit at your desk and use the pedals for an easy low impact exercise!


4. Have a Walking Meeting or Wander

Walking and talking, so simple. This is another easy way to kill two birds with one stone and work out at work! Wander is another way of saying, just get up and move.

An easy tip: set a timer on your phone for every 30 min, every time it goes off take a lap around the building. This can actually make you MORE productive by keeping your brain engaged and getting the blood pumping! Encourage your employees to try this, too!

5. Chair Squats

exercise at your desk

Squats are a staple in every workout routine, and for good reason! Think of how many times a day you stand up and sit down in your office chair, this small movement is essential to your corporate job function. There are many benefits an executive can gain from squats including improving the mobility in the hips and ankles, strengthen and tone the core and improve posture.

When you go to sit in your office chair squat down until you’re almost seated and then stand back up. Do this every time you go to sit and you’ll begin to reap the benefits!

6. Desk Pushups

exercise at your desk

Doing a pushup at your office might not be the easiest exercise to tackle but using your desk as a prop can help. Put both hands on the edge of your desk with your arms straight and walk your feet back until your body is slightly at an angle with your upper body leaning towards the desk. Bend your arms to 90 degrees (or whatever you can muster!) and push yourself back to the starting position. Try doing 2 sets of 10 every hour. That’s 80 pushups in a single day!

7. Arm Exercises

exercise at your desk

Have a heavy book at your desk? Grab it for some overhead triceps exercises! Hold the book overhead with both arms straight, lower the book behind your head until your elbows reach 90 degrees, straighten arms to starting position. Repeat!

8. Calf Raises

The next time you are waiting in line for the copy machine or for your turn to use the microwave start doing some calf raises. Calf raises will help tone your legs as well as help with balance. See how many reps you can get before you have to sit down again!

9. Hamstring Curls

Using a rolling desk chair press both feet firmly into the ground with knees bent at 90 degrees. Straighten both legs and then slowly return to the starting position by bending the knees. Want to make it a little more challenging? Try doing one leg at a time!

10. Leg Lifts

Seated leg lifts are great for the quads and abdomen. Sitting in an upright position with your back pressed into your chair, straighten both legs and left them up as high as you can. Engage your core and don’t slump over while doing this! If lifting both legs is too intense try doing one at a time.

11. Side Bends

A great core exercise, side bends can help strengthen the obliques and stretch out the side of the body. Place one hand on your hip while letting the other hand hang towards the floor, slowly reach the lengthened arm toward the ground. Go as far as you can without turning your torso towards the floor, slowly return towards the start. Repeat on both sides.

Working out at work doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to be time-consuming. As executives, we need to change our mindset and attitude about working out at work. Begin with trying out one or two of the exercises listed every single day and work your way up getting in as much activity as you can throughout the workday.

These are also great tips to pass along to your employees, and by doing so it might even hold your more accountable as well! These 11 tips are simple and can be done in any office setting with minimal equipment. So, get moving and start working out at work!

Are you interested in seeing how easy it is to get fit? Check out our Books section exclusively selected for executives.


Any other tips or tricks for working out at work please comment below!


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