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5 Ways to Workout at Work (Without Anyone Noticing)

8 hours in the office, 1 hour in traffic and 8 hours sleeping doesn’t leave much time to pump your weights or get your cardio on. There is no doubt that office butt is an epidemic, but there are many ways to battle the workday slump. There’s a reason that many people go home sore and exhausted after work, even if they’re not moving much or at all. Standing still on your feet for long hours or sitting motionless camped out in your cubicle can be brutal for your body. To combat these symptoms, short but effective exercises throughout your day can help immensely. If you’re running low on time to head to the gym, there’s no reason why you can’t get some quality mini-workouts in throughout your day. Here are some great ways to get in shape in your office without looking too ridiculous (although getting into shape is never ridiculous!).


1. Calf Lifts: Constantly sitting down and not moving can cause your calf muscles to tighten, causing discomfort. Calf lifts are a great, low impact way to strengthen and tone your calf muscles. This exercise can easily be done right at your desk. Here are instructions on how to do a calf lift:

  1. Stand up straight and either grasp a wall, a chair or your desk for balance. Your feet should be positioned parallel with your hips.
  2. Raise your heels until you’re on your tiptoes, like a ballerina, and try to balance the weight on the balls of your feet. Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute and then lower yourself slowly.
  3. Repeat this 15 times per set and try to complete three sets. Or as many as your break allows you.

2. Wall Sits: Most conventional work places have walls, which is great because one is necessary for this exercise. Wall sits, or wall squats, are amazing for working out your quadriceps and hamstrings.

  1. Find a wall and have your back flat against it, with your feet out in front of you. Slowly begin to slide down the wall until your knees create a 90 degree angle (or less if you’re not quite ready for that yet).
  2. Hold onto this pose for as long as possible (20 to 60 seconds is recommended) and then return back to standing position. Repeat until the burn is felt.

3. Desk Push Ups: Using your own body weight to do strength training is a wonderful method when weights and dumbbells are not readily available (which is the case at most offices). While it may look a little odd to just drop the floor and start doing conventional pushups, desk pushups are a great alternative.

  1. Stand a few feet away from your desk. Place your palms on the edge of your desk so that they are parallel to your shoulder.
  2. Lower yourself until you reach the edge of your desk and push yourself back up.

4. Sitting Leg Raise: If you’re a little shy about exercising at work, the seated leg raise is perfect for you. Sometimes standing up at your desk isn’t an option but this isometric exercise can be done while sitting down behind your desk.

  1. Straighten one leg out and hold the pose for 5 or 10 seconds.
  2. Slowly lower the leg, but don’t let your feet touch the ground.
  3. Repeat with the other leg or with both legs if you’re feeling adventurous.

5. Cubicle Cardio: Although this isn’t one specific exercise, these are some tips on doing the little things that can really add up over time and contribute to your cardio workout.

  1. Tapping your toes may seem insignificant, but some studies have shown that you can burn up to 350 calories a day by fidgeting. So turn on some tunes and get to tapping.
  2. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a simple solution to increasing your daily cardio. The incline of going upstairs is great for your heart health.
  3. Walking is low impact but helps the metabolism get pumping. Instead of e-mailing your coworker, walk to him/her. Instead of browsing on your phone during a break, take a gentle stroll around the block.

These are just a fraction of secretive exercises that can be done in the privacy of your office. But exercise isn’t something to be ashamed of. Talk to your boss and coworkers and rally them up for office exercises. Get a basketball hoop in the parking lot, have a weekly one hour yoga session in the conference room, ask the CEO to consider installing a gym (because there are plenty of options for wholesale used gym equipment) or just buying a used elliptical, used exercise bike, or used treadmill for the office. There are endless possibilities to working out at work!

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