The Hourly Office Workout

The young businessman sitting in the office on pilates ball and doing exercise with dumbbells.

Are you trapped inside your office all day and have no time to hit the gym after a long workday?  You are not alone.  Thousands of Americans live a sedentary lifestyle, sitting in their car on their way to work, sitting at a desk for 8 hours, and then driving home just to sit on the couch for the rest of the evening.  The simple truth is that if you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight, and sitting all day does not burn any calories.  

Instead of sitting all day, try to get your heart rate up every hour (and not just from stress). Every hour, do a quick 2-3 minute exercise to get your heart pumping and blood circulating.  Remember not to make your workouts too strenuous, as you don’t want to break out into a sweat in the middle of the workday.  The exercises compiled in this post are meant to up your heart rate without being too exhaustive.  They also are perfect for every fitness level, from marathon runner to couch potato.  

Taking the time to exercise can increase productivity, help control weight gain, improve your mood, boost your energy, and of course, help you live a healthier lifestyle.  When you find yourself in the 4:00 slump, get up and do a quick workout.  If you are losing creativity at 11, right before lunch, do your hour workout to refresh your brain, so to speak.  You know that you need to be more physically active, and here is a great way to do it.  

Business woman working and workout. Isolated on white background
Business woman working and workout. Isolated on white background

While you can do these workouts by yourself, it is infinitely more enjoyable with friends.  Get buy in from your coworkers, and have them join you on your office workout.  While they may not be able to join you every hour, ask them to come as often as possible. Who knows? Maybe you can convince your employer to start a company wellness program.  Let them know that company wellness programs can increase morale, and if someone does not have time to join the workout because they are otherwise engaged in a project, they do not have to participate, or they can do the workout on their own time.  

This exercise plan has been designed for a typical office employee.  Feel free to adapt it to fit your needs and ability.  For example, if you wear a dress one day to work, or a nice suit, it may not be possible to do lunges.  Instead, do a couple of stretches.  If you would like to take your workout to the next level, bring weights to work and do the workouts with a weight in each hand.  If you don’t have the luxury of owning your own weights, use water bottles as a substitute.  

Remember that it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it!  And of course, have fun.  

Office Workout

9 AM Squats

While you are waiting for your computer to boot up, do a couple of standing squats.  Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms straight out in front of you, and back straight.  Bend your knees, keeping your back and shoulders upright and sink into a squat.  Repeat about 10 times.

10 AM Arm Stretches

Stand up next to your desk and put your arms straight out to the sides, making a “T” with your body.  Twist your body side to side to loosen up.  Relax and bring one arm straight across your body and hold onto it with the other hand.  Hold it for 30 seconds, and then switch arms.  Bring one arm up and over your head, elbow bent.  Grab your elbow with your other hand and gently pull it towards your head.  

11 AM Calf Raises

Stand up near your desk, with your feet flat on the ground.  Slowly raise up onto your tippy toes, hold for 5 seconds, and then press your feet back to the ground.  

12 PM  Speed Walk

During your lunch break, take a speed walk around your office.  If you can, take a walk outside to get some fresh air.  Let this mini workout last a little longer than the other ones, and walk around your building or around the block.  

1 PM Desk Pushups

Put your hands on your desk and slowly walk backwards.  Do about 15 pushups against your desks.  

2 PM Jumping Jacks

At 2:00 pm do a full minute of jumping jacks.  While that may seem daunting, you will be amazed at how you will actually be able to do it.  Set a timer and go.   

3 PM Arm Circles

Put your arms straight out from your body, forming a “T.”  Start circling your arms forward in tiny circles 20 times.  Circle them backwards for 20 more seconds.  Make medium circles going forward 20 times, then backwards.  Do the same with large circles.

4 PM Jog in Place

Jog in place for one full minute.   Increase your jogging time as you are able.

5 PM Lunges

Finish your day off by doing lunges on the way to your car.  If you are working longer than a 8 hour day, do stationary lunges at your desk.

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