These 5 Exercises Can Be Done at Work (Because You're Probably Sitting Too Much)

Updated 09/04/18
Geri Hirsch—Exercises at Work
Geri Hirsch

Although the typical day job is a whole lot of work, there usually isn't a whole lot of movement involved. Sure, the eyes routinely get exercise by darting from one open tab to another, but the rest of the body usually stays in one sedentary position. In fact, one 2016 study says that the average American sits nine to 13 hours a day. Therefore, it's a no-brainer that we should move more, but that doesn't necessarily have to happen before or after we leave our desks.

"There are so many benefits to adding a little movement to your workday," Karena Dawn, the co-founder of Tone It Up with Katrina Scott, says. "You'll improve your posture, keep your energy up, and with a few simple exercises, tone right at your desk."

If you're thinking that a desk workout would either be embarrassing or ambitious, that's okay. Dawn and Scott know that it can be tough to get out of the sit-and-stare routine of an office job, even if you want to take advantage of these healthy opportunities. They say that the easiest way to shake off any concerns is to get started with whatever feels right.

"Make a point of getting up and moving at least once every hour," Scott says. "That can be done by sneaking in a few squats, doing a few simple stretches at your desk, or taking a walk around the block while taking calls. You can also invite a co-worker on a walk for a brainstorming session. Remember, a few key items can go a long way. Swap in an exercise ball for your basic desk chair. You'll build core strength as you multitask, and you'll bring awareness to your posture, too."

We asked Dawn and Scott to provide five easy exercises that you can do at your desk as soon as possible, just by making a few moderations to the standard poses shown in the examples below. Give it some time, and hopefully, these routines become as second nature as grabbing an afternoon coffee or participating in a group Slack. 

Desk Plank Jacks

Desk Plank Jacks Exercise at Work
Courtesy of Tone It Up

What it tones: Core, shoulders, booty, and legs, plus some cardio

How to do it at work: "Place your hands flat on your desk, and step back into a modified plank position," Dawn says. "Jump your feet out and in, picking up the pace while keeping that booty down and back flat. Repeat for 60 seconds."

Desk Push-Ups

Desk Push Ups Exercise at Work
Courtesy of Tone It Up

What it tones: Chest, arms, and core

How to do it at work: "Place your hands flat on your desk, and step back into a modified plank position," Scott says. "Keeping your body in a straight line from head to toe, lower your chest toward the desk, then press back up. Repeat for 60 seconds."

Desk Tricep Dips

Desk Tricep Dips Exercise at Work
Courtesy of Tone It Up

What it tones: Triceps and core

How to do it at work: "With your back to your desk, place your palms flat on the desk," Dawn continues. "Lower into a chair position, with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your arms straight. Get lower by bending at the elbows, and then press back up. Repeat for 60 seconds."

Booty Band Shuffles

Booty Band Shuffles Exercise at Work
Courtesy of Tone It Up

What it tones: Booty and legs

How to do it at work: "Place a booty band around your ankles, and lower into a squat position with your hands on your hips," Scott adds. "Staying low, take two steps to your right, then two to your left. Repeat for 60 seconds."

Booty Band Kickbacks

Booty Band Kickbacks Exercise at Work
Courtesy of Tone It Up

What it tones: Booty and legs

How to do it at work: "Place a booty band around your ankles and stand with your feet a few inches apart," Dawn explains. "With your hands on your hips, or with your fingertips placed lightly on the desk for balance, lift your right leg behind you as you squeeze your booty. Return your foot back to the ground and repeat. Do this for 30 seconds, then switch legs."

Add These to Your At-Work Exercise Routine

Tone It Up 5 Lb. Dumbbell Exercises at Work
Tone It Up 5 lb. Dumbbell $9
Shop
Tone It Up Exercise Ball and Pump Set
Tone It Up Exercise Ball and Pump Set $20
Shop
Tone It Up Slide 'N' Sculpt Discs Exercise at Work
Tone It Up Slide 'N' Sculpt Discs $13
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