6 Exercise Hacks While You Are At Work

Your blood needs to flow freely and at times quickly. Fast moving blood will help clean out the plaque that’s been building up inside your arteries. Sometimes our jobs just don’t provide that excitement that gets the blood flowing. So we need to create it for ourselves.

I don’t want you to strip down to your underwear and streak through the office. Well I think that would be cool, but not very good for your career.

Exercise is a vital component to feeling good while we are working throughout the day. People who exercise at least 20 minutes a day see a significant increase in energy compared to people who don’t exercise at all.

“Exercise can relax you. One exercise session generates 90 to 120 minutes of relaxation response. Some people call this post-exercise euphoria or endorphin response. We now know that many neurotransmitters, not just endorphins, are involved. The important thing though is not what they’re called, but what they do: They improve your mood and leave you relaxed.”

–        American Council On Fitness

I want you to put small segments of exercise in at work. What? I can’t exercise at work. Yes you can. There are plenty of ways to take a few minutes to get a little exercise in.


1. Squats in the BathroomExercise in the bathroom? Gross. It may be, but it’s my favorite in-office exercise. The bathrooms at my work are single person bathrooms and I can lock the door behind me. Squats can be done in an office or anywhere else, but just find a place where you won’t be disturbed.

Results: I do squats for one minute and my heart is pounding. The thighs are the largest muscle in your body and when you work them out you are getting the most bang for your time.


2. Go for a Walk – Take a walk around your office. This is the most obvious and popular way to exercise at work. I always like to take a quick fifteen minute walk around the block. I try to do this at a fast pace to get the heart pumping. If I do this in the summer I make sure to keep a stick of deodorant in my desk so I don’t stink.

Results: Going for a walk is my favorite stress reliever. It helps me clear out the worry and brings me back into a happier state.


3. Stretching in Your Chair – Carpal tunnel and other ailments are developed because of repetitive movements. Taking a few minutes to stretch your wrists, back and shoulders will break up your day and keep your joints healthier.

Results: I’ve abused my right wrist because of my overuse of the mouse. I try to stretch for a few minutes every hour. This habit has helped me gain a fresh perspective on my work as well as keep my wrists healthy.


4. One Minute Relaxation – Just like your muscles and joints need exercise, so does your brain. You should be taking the time to process your activity throughout the day. Exercising does this, but an active relaxation will help you clear out you mind to help you transition to that next task. Productivity is a key component to happiness at work and when we combat stress throughout the day we get more done and are much happier.

Results: I used to just race through the day, making myself frantic and by the end of the day I was ready for a beer. I relied on that beer to calm me down. Because of my one minute relaxations throughout the day I’m more relaxed when I get home and I no longer need a beer to transition to home life.


5. Push-ups – I love push-ups. They are probably my favorite muscle strengthening exercise. I try to do these on my lunch break. I’m no longer a bashful person so I’ll do them on the sidewalk or in a field.

Results: Strength based exercises are vital to strong bones – our support system. We make our lives easier when we have a strong foundation. I’ve noticed that my confidence increases after push-ups. Just five push-ups makes a big difference. I feel like I can tackle any problem.


6. ??? – Number 6 is up to you my dear reader. What could you do on a break that would help keep your energy level up and productivity high?


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Image courtesy of Teecycle Tim


  1. Great article. I’m going to try these at work. And that’s totally me in the photo.

    Tim’s last blog post..The difference between starting and finishing

  2. I often use the second one, going for walk around. Another method I use is going near to the window or outside and look above to the sky, I get some fresh air and it gives rest to my eyes especially if I have been working on the computer for quite long hours. The results? I feel energized to work again.

    Avatar’s last blog post..The World Of Thought

  3. Squats in the bathroom – I love that one Karl!! I’d get some pretty strange looks… But hey, should I let that stop me? (in this case, I think it will – I’ll save the squats for home!!). As tempting as you make them sound!

    My addition: How about some tricep dips off of your desk chair? Hands on the edge of the seat, feet outstretched, and the dip down and back up. I suppose this could get strange looks too. But then, isn’t it better to get some strange looks and have a stronger body – than – to go with the status quo, and feel lethargic?

    I’ll try “something” today – we’ll see how it goes! Thanks Karl (I think – if I get ridiculed out of the office…hmmm….)!

    Lance’s last blog post..With Many Thanks, We Dance

  4. Now that is smart! Since most of us spend most of our time at work, if we incorporated all those exercises, by the time we get to 5pm, we would have done enough exercise for the day! I like running up and down the stairs on my good days. Often when I sit down am lazy to even get up and go to the loo, couch potato…

  5. Hi Karl: Exercise is so important, it lowers stress, slows the aging process, helps us sleep better, sharpens the mind, and on and on. I stopped exercising for about four years awhile back, but now I’m an avid exerciser. And I feel 100% better. I think companies should give bonuses to employees that work out 🙂

    Marelisa’s last blog post..Productivity Tip: Think Small

  6. Funny I came across this article, with a flash of inspiration this week I realised I could escape to the locker room and do regular exercise at work, even if it’s a few minutes here and there…

    Some of the ones I’ve started doing are pushups, situps, and press downs from a chair. Great tips for getting some exercise going while you’re at work, thanks!


    Ross’s last blog post..So you’ve heard it all before? Part 1: Gratitude

  7. Thanks for the great tips, Karl. Previously I did number 2 & 3 only. I didn’t think to do exercise such as squats in the bathroom, even push ups at work. I am going to try these, it’s no harm to try. 🙂

    arswino’s last blog post..Bend, but Don’t Break

  8. Hi Tim, nothing wrong with doing push-ups on a table.

    Hi Avatar, a fresh air break can rejuvenate the entire body.

    Hi Lance, Triceps off your desk chair is a great idea. I know what I’m doing on my first break at work Monday morning.

    Hi Sharon, I like exercising at work because I don’t feel guilty for relaxing when I get home after a long days work.

    Hi Marelisa, exercise slows the aging process – cool! No wonder I still get carded.

    Hi Ross, you’re lucky to have a locker room.

    Hi Arswino, I know you’ll enjoy the other exercises as much as I do.

  9. You are a genius! I alway confusing how can I do some exercises in the break time when I am working . Work is painful for the ones who can’t find the way to relax himself. You give all people who feel boring at work a perfect plan in physical training.
    Personally, I don’t think squats in the bathroom is nice choice in exercise,though it is useful. The floor in our bathroom is wet and cold, it is easy to get hurt. Why don’t we have walk instead of squats in the bathroom. Most of us go to offices by the elevator, we can walk to our office by foot. The payoff is same as squats in the bathroom .
    Anyway, it is consistently fascinating to read your suggestions.
    You did a great job in advicing to us all. I consider if we can follow your suggestions ,we can live more heathly and finish our job efficiently.

  10. This is a creative list. My #6 is my core abs workout. By squeezing your abs the right way, you can even do it in your chair.

    Stacey / Create a Balance’s last blog post..Free eBook – How to Practice the Art of Life Balance

  11. I have been working in an office for years and have been told that I need to start my battle now for carpal tunnel. I was taught some exercises to stretch my arms out against a wall to prevent this injury later. So a couple of times a day I do these on the wall. of course I look like I am leaning on the wall so it works great by the water cooler. heehee

    Tracy’s last blog post..Relaxing Stress Tightened Muscles With A Massage Chair

  12. Hi Karl – What a fabulous post. Often office workers blame their job for their lack of exercise. You’ve just proved them wrong with some great ideas. For any of us who sit a lot, stretching is very important. I’ve heard carpal tunnel is very painful so I do whatever I can to avoid it.

    Barbara Swafford – Blogging Without A Blog’s last blog post..The Unseen Benefit of Commenting

  13. I totally agree. Working in the office is a challenge to keep but it doesn’t take long to do stretching and all.

  14. Hi All

    I started working out for the first time in my life about 6weeks ago. I have a cross trainer and do 45mins 6 times a week. Anyway, I have started incorporating exercise into my work day, by using bathroom time. I do press ups against the wall and tricep dips off the sink….I will now incorporate squats, awesome 🙂

    PS, I found this forum in google, I did a search thinking no one would be as insane as I and workout in the bathroom at work. Glad I’m not alone.

  15. strong bones can only be obtained by taking lots of calcium and magnesium supplements and daily exercise*:*