5 Exercises You Can Do In The Office

5 Exercises You Can Do In The Office

Sitting at a desk all day can be pretty draining, and research shows that prolonged sedentary time increases the risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Unfortunately, as a writer I inevitably spend the better part of my days sitting, and while I try to fit in a workout as often as possible, the reality is that despite my best efforts, there are plenty of days where a visit to the gym, jog in the park or even quick high intensity workout just doesn’t happen.

The good news is that breaking up your office routine with light exercise every half hour or so can counteract the negative effects of sitting at a desk for hours on end. If you can’t remember to do this on your own, you could initially set a timer for every half hour to remind you to get up and move, but eventually it will become a habit.


Of course, these simple exercises are no substitute for the type of workout that leaves you feeling like a sweaty mess, but they can help you stay alert throughout the day and may even prolong your lifespan.

    1. Walking

    Walking will elevate your heart rate and improve your circulation, and it’s also the easiest way to exercise in the office without calling too much attention to yourself.


    Try walking a few laps around the room the next time you have to make a phone call, and rather than emailing someone down the hall, you could get up and talk to them in person.

    1. Calf raises

    Calf raises can be done unobtrusively next to your desk, and will strengthen your calf muscles while also improving your balance.

    Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and press yourself up onto the tips of your toes. Hold the pose for a second, then lower yourself back down and repeat. You can even make the exercise more difficult by working one leg at a time.


    1. Standing tricep extensions

    Tricep extensions will strengthen the muscles at the back of your upper arms, and although they’re usually done with a barbell or dumbbell, you can use anything from a large book to a water bottle.

    Start by holding your weight behind your head with both hands and extending your arms upward. Then slowly drop them back down behind your head and repeat.

    1. Chair squats

    Chair squats are great for your toning your legs and buttocks, but they’ll require a little more effort and you may attract a few stares from your coworkers while doing them.


    To do these, stand in front of your chair with your feet hip-width apart and lower yourself down until your buttocks lightly touch the edge of the chair. Without sitting down, press yourself back up into a standing position and repeat.

    1. Lunges

    This is another exercise you can do while making a phone call, and although it’s not as discreet as walking, lunges will get your heart rate up while working your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.

    Stand up straight with your shoulders back, chin up and core engaged. Step forward with one leg and lower yourself until your knee is at a 90-degree angle. Push yourself back into a standing position and lower yourself again, this time using the opposite leg. Repeat until both legs are burning.

    Featured photo credit: Photo by Benjamin Child via

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    Marianne Stenger

    Writer, Open Colleges

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    Last Updated on April 2, 2020

    10 Quick Easy Workouts To Lose Arm Fat At Home

    10 Quick Easy Workouts To Lose Arm Fat At Home

    Flabby arms are something a lot of us have to tend to. If you find yourself buying a sweater or cardigan to go with your tank top or usually opt for the long-sleeved dress, then you’re not alone. Usually a result of genes, general excess fat or just ageing, it seems difficult to lose arm fat. The fat in our arms accumulates mainly around the triceps – the muscles on the back of your upper arm – and are prone to getting flabby if not exercised regularly.

    What we eat can also play a part in the extent of the jiggle so eating a good, healthy balanced diet as well as keeping well hydrated can put you on the right track. Resistance exercises are the most effective way to blast that underarm fat as well as strengthen, shape and tone your muscles. You can always go down to the gym and work up a sweat but who has time for that? If you want a convenient and quick alternative then you can easily manage an effective routine in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a set of dumbbells and you can start toning up those bingo wings with these 10 easy workouts.

    1. Tricep dips


      Works: Triceps

      • Hands must be positioned shoulder width apart on a secured chair or bench.
      • Position your bum in front of the bench with feet hip-width apart on the floor and legs bent.
      • Straighten out your arms a little, keeping a slight bend from the elbow so to put more emphasis on the tricep and less stress on the elbow.
      • Keeping your back close to the bench, slowly lower your body so that your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
      • Once in this position slowly push off your hands back to the starting position.
      • Do 10-15 reps.

      2. Bicep curls



        Works: Biceps and shoulders

        • Start off with your feet hip-distance apart, holding one dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing out.
        • Starting with your left arm, bend your elbow to slowly bring the weight up to your shoulder holding the position for 5 seconds.
        • Slowly release the elbow and straighten your arm back down to the starting position.
        • Repeat the moves on the right side.
        • Complete 3 sets of 10-15 reps for each arm.

        3. Push ups


          Works: Triceps and Deltoids

          • Lying face down, place your hands on the floor roughly shoulder-width apart.
          • Tuck your toes under and gently lift your body up, pushing through your hands and making sure not to lock your elbows.
          • Slowly bend your elbows bringing your face roughly 2-3 inches from the ground.
          • Slowly push back up through your arms. If this is difficult then do the same move but keeping your knees on the floor.
          • Repeat 10-15 times.

          4. Tricep Kickbacks


            Works: Triceps


            • Place a weight in each hand and kneel down onto the floor with your toes tucked under.
            • Bend your upper body forward from the hips up and bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle.
            • Extend both your arms backwards while your palms are facing each other.
            • Feel the tension in the triceps and return to the starting position.
            • Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

            5. Plank


              Works: Chest, Shoulders, Biceps and Core

              • Start face-down on the floor, resting on your forearms and knees.
              • Step your feet out so that they are slightly apart and come into the plank position.
              • Make sure your body is straight, parallel to the floor and your bum is tucked in.
              • Pull your abs in and hold the position for as long as you can. Try to aim for 20-30 seconds and build up to a minute.
              • Repeat 3 times.

              6. Tricep Extensions


                Works: Triceps

                • Stand on a mat with your feet hip-width apart.
                • Hold one dumbbell with both hands behind your head, bending the elbows.
                • Bring the weight towards the ceiling, straightening your arms above your head.
                • Lower back to starting position.
                • Complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.

                7. Lateral Arm Raises



                  Works: Deltoids

                  • Stand with feel hip-width apart. With arms down the side of your body, hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing in.
                  • Starting with your left side, inhale and slowly raise your arm so that it’s parallel to the floor. Make sure not to lock your elbow by keeping a slight bend.
                  • Make sure your arm is straight and palm is facing the floor.
                  • Exhale and slowly bring your arm back down to your side.
                  • Repeat on the right side.
                  • Do 10-15 reps on each side and two sets.

                  8. Overhead Press


                    Works: Shoulders

                    • Stand up, lining your feet with your hips and hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing out.
                    • Bring the weights to your shoulders.
                    • Keep your core muscles tight and straighten your arms above you.
                    • Slowly bring your arms back down to your shoulders.
                    • Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

                    9. Bent Over Row


                      Works: Triceps and Biceps 


                      • Place your feet shoulder-width apart.
                      • Bend your knees and and then bend your upper body forward from the hips making sure you keep your back nice and straight.
                      • Make sure your hands are straight and placed under your shoulders.
                      • Bend the elbows back while lifting your arms towards the sides of your chest, pulling your shoulder blades towards each other.
                      • Slowly lower the weights in a controlled movement and feel the tension at your triceps.
                      • Repeat 10-15 times.

                      10. Skull Crushers


                        Works: Triceps

                        • While holding a dumbbell in each hand, lie on your back with your knees bent.
                        • Slowly raise your arms so they are above your chest, making sure your elbows are straight but not locked.
                        • Slowly lower both arms toward your head, bending your elbows to 90 degrees as the dumbbells reach the mat. Aim to lower your weights so they are on either side of your head  with elbows bent and pressing in toward your head (being careful not to hit yourself in the face).
                        • Lift your arms back to starting position.
                        • Complete 2 or 3 sets, 10-15 reps each.

                        Featured photo credit: Maddi Bazzocco via

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