Today more than ever, Americans live sedentary lifestyles — and our lazy habits are aided by hundreds of websites and TV channels that stimulate the mind while our bodies stay at rest.

Though exercise is one of our most basic needs, too often, we move the least amount possible, and the extent of our daily movement mainly consists of going from the couch to the car, and then from the car to the office.

Workout at work Fitness that you can do at the office
But exercise does much more than keep people slim — it also raises the metabolism, strengthens bones, builds muscle mass, and can even help prevent asthma and allergies.

A few years ago, The Washington Post published an illustrated guide to a dozen workouts that could be done at work. Here, Dr Sanjay Jain, author of Optimal Living 360: Smart Decision Making for a Balanced Life tells you about his five favorite fitness formulas from the feature.

5 ways to do a workout at work

1) Chair dips – 10 reps: With your legs out in front of you, grab the edge of a chair (or desk) and lift yourself down and back up. At the end, you’ll be conveniently back in your seat.

2) Walking – 10 minutes: Lap your block or a floor of your office. Try for a pace of 100 steps per minute, which is easy if you don’t stop to play with tchotchkes on other people’s desks.

3) Hamstring curl – 20 reps: Bend arms at the elbow. Bring one foot up toward your rear end while straightening your arms so that your hands are down when your foot is up.

4) Knee lifts – 20 reps: Just like hamstring curls, except you lift your knee up in front as your arms go down.

5) Desk pushup – 10 reps: Place hands on edge of desk, shoulder width apart, legs out behind you. Push off with as much force as you can.

“At your work desk, you can flex your muscles and do stretching on regular intervals as needed,” says Dr Jain. “The simple act of choosing the stairs over the elevator in your building can add up to positive momentum.”

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And don’t stop there — keep looking for opportunities to fit in bits and pieces of exercise throughout your day. As Dr Jain says, “You can find a way to move your body at just about any time.”

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Myria, originally launched in 1998, strives to deliver more conversation, and less gossip. More intelligence, less eye-rolling. More acceptance, less judgment. And throughout the site: more needle, less haystack. Through life's ups, downs, and everything in between, we want to encourage you, support you, and help guide you. The team behind Myria understands that status updates and selfies never tell the whole story, and that we all have stuff to deal with, and that's nothing you need to hide here. Beyond "been there, done that" - every day, we're still there and still doing it. That's how we know: You've got this.

About: About the author: Sanjay Jain, MD, MBA is a medical doctor, health expert, life coach, inspirational keynote speaker and author who has dedicated his life to helping people find their purpose by achieving a meaningful life that they deeply cherish. Sanjay Jain is a US-trained, board-certified physician with over 15 years of clinical experience, and also obtained his MBA at the Fisher School of Business. The combination of which has given him a unique voice and understanding of the many issues we face today in a real and practical sense. Find out more about Dr Jain at

Photo: Open plan office layout at the RBC Capital Markets office - photo thanks to K2 Space (Creative Commons)

Original publication date: May 6, 2014

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