Lunch Break Fitness: 7 Easy Exercises to Do at Your Desk

Fitness experts Jill Miller, Lacey Stone and Stephanie Vitorino share easy workouts that can be done at your work desk

By Nicole Adlman Aug 07, 2013 8:08 PMTags
Fitness at WorkiStock

Ever find yourself at work with a cramped back, stiff wrists and a neck that can't turn fully?

Not to worry—we've all been there! To fight the workday fatigue, we asked some fitness experts for simple exercises that can be done right at your desk.

1. Sit Correctly: Jill Miller, founder of Yoga Tune Up®, a company that specializes in yoga training and equipment, offers a simple way to relieve a tight back at work: "You know, the quickest fix is to sit correctly and to stand correctly. And everyone's like, ‘How many exercises do I need to do? I do this, I do that…' You need to hold yourself better," Miller said.

2. Push Back and Forth: "When I'm sitting at my desk I'll flip my palms over and I'll just push my arms into the back of the chair," said Miller. "And I do this on the airplane, or even in my car seat, and [when] I get a stop sign." Miller explains that this immediately strengthens your back muscles and sets your shoulders in the right position. 

3. Use Some Equipment. "Yoga Tune Up® balls are awesome—when I'm in my car, or when I'm on a plane, I use the balls in my seat," Miller said, adding that the balls can be used in a desk chair as well. "You can put them underneath your butt [or] you can put them to the side of the legs and work all of these tissues that get really, really congested."


4. Grab Your Chair. Equinox trainer and creator of the Summer Body Breakthru Program Stephanie Vitorino suggests using your chair for balance when practicing fitness moves at work: "I think simple chair squats is something that's really easy and accessible. So sitting in front of your chair, standing up and sitting back down a few times," she said.

To make the exercise a little more complex, Vitorino suggests doing single leg squats.

"I love doing single leg chair squats, so even using one leg at a time to get up and down in that same position," she said. "The chair is always good to use as balance: you can stand up and hold on to the back of it and do leg lifts, calf raises—sculpt the lower body."

5. Stretch While Sitting: "And I think stretches [work], moving your body and using your core," said Vitorino. "If you're seated and you just want to sit back and lift your legs up [to] activate the core, you can hold that for a few seconds."

6. Invest in a Resistance Band: Vitorino suggests using a resistance band when doing short exercises: "It's so portable and you can take it anywhere—traveling, to the office," she said. "It's really about maximizing your time and being able to use your full body. [If] you're folding the band in half and using core rotations as you pull the band apart, you're sculpting your upper body and you're in a seated position at your desk."

7. Last but Not Least, Do What You Can: Bi-coastal celebrity trainer Lacey Stone thinks that staying active at work is about doing what you can, when you can.

"Sit on a Bosu ball and squeeze your glutes. Use the stairs when you can," Stone said. "Get your office mates involved. Sneak in a five minute workout every day and you'll feel a lot better about yourself."

Which tip would you like to try out? Sound off in the comments.

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