How To Squeeze In Exercise During The Workday

Making time for a workout can be tough; things pop up, and it can sometimes just be hard to convince yourself to put on those workout clothes and get moving. However, exercising mid-day at the office can be a great way to awaken the mind and get some creative juices going, and squeezing in some power moves could be just perfect for overcoming an afternoon slump.

One thing I do as a certified health coach is work with clients on finding time to get in exercise. If they don't like or have time to wake up first thing in the morning, or hit the gym post-work due to scheduling conflicts or hectic work hours, then doing something active mid-day is a great addition to a healthy, happy lifestyle. Between office or nearby gyms and classes suitable for a lunch break or body-weight exercises by your desk, to running up and down the stairs or getting a cubii right by your feet (which is awesome, by the way, as I type and elliptical simultaneously!), there's no shortage of ways to add in some extra movement. Here are 11 ways to exercise at while you're at work and get fitness perks all day long.

1. Pre-Pack For The Workweek

Katie McCann, a professional organizer and contributor to the lifestyle website Maeve's Method, tells Bustle over email that "pre-packing an outfit for each day of the week you intend to work out" is a great time-saver." This takes the guesswork out of choosing your workout outfit when you’re pressed for time each morning. Store a week’s worth of gym outfits in a gym bag in your car or near your front door, and rotate out each outfit as you use it. Try keeping a mini laundry bag with you so you can easily discern the used versus fresh gym clothing," she says.

2. Put It On The Work Schedule

"Schedule time on your work calendar and treat it the same as you would a non-negotiable mandatory meeting. Blocking out time on your calendar to fit in your workout will help you visually see how often you’re actually working out and help keep you accountable. It will also alert coworkers that you are unavailable for a meeting or call for a 1-hour block of time midday," says McCann. If you do not have the luxury of taking an hour break mid-day, then split up a workout by doing little spurts throughout. For instance, do circuit moves for ten or fifteen minutes at a time, at various intervals throughout the day.

3. Do Circuit Training

In email with running coach and personal trainer Susie Lemmer, we discussed how doing circuit training is a great way to include a lunch-workout during the work day. High intensity interval training is great for squeezing in effective workouts in a shorter amount of time, leaving enough minutes to warm up, cool down/stretch, shower or freshen up and actually eat something during that lunch break!

4. Watch Exercise Videos

Lemmer also suggests watching DVDs or workout videos online, such as yoga, kickboxing, bodyweight circuit training, and dance, online, for quick and effective workouts. Most videos range between 20 and 40 minutes, which is perfect for a lunch break in the middle of the day, and it's easy to do them in the office right by your desk or in an office lounge.

5. Organize A Group Activity

Organizing a group activity that is aerobic and fun at the office can be a great way to get everyone on board, build teamwork and squeeze in a solid workout, where it's totally acceptable and even encouraged. Miguel Garza, CEO of Siete Family Foods says over email with Bustle,"at Siete we try and work out together twice a week on the rooftop of our parking garage. Working out together builds community in the office and exercising in the group setting is great for accountability, fun and camaraderie."

6. Do "Deskercises"

As explained by Cedric X. Bryant, the chief science officer at the American Council on Exercise, and John Porcari, executive director of La Crosse Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, in interview with Time Magazine, there are moves that incorporate desk and workstation pieces, such as using books as weights or desks as push up tools, in order to get in a good workout. They suggest also using a chair as a way to do tricep dips and other upper body moves, as well as squats.

7. Do Lunges & Squats

These moves do not require equipment or much space and can provide some serious exercise benefits, advise Toni Yancey, professor of health services at UCLA and author of the get-moving book Instant Recess, Alice Burron, exercise physiologist and spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise, and Catrine Tudor-Locke, who studies walking behavior at Pennington Biomedical Research, in a singular interview with the Washington Post.

8. Utilize Your Commute

Driving to work makes you more sedentary, so it's best to walk, bike, or take other forms of transit that include walking between stops in order to get in more steps, explains Madeline Vann, MPH, with everyday Health. However, if you are using a car, park in a spot further away from the building entrance so that you have more distance to cover upon reaching your desk.

9. Take The Stairs

Also according to Vann, taking the stairs is an easy way to get in more exercise and raise your heart rate at various points in the day. It works various muscles and does not need to take up much time. Aim to walk or run up and down the stairs two or three days a day, and when going to different floors, opt for the staircase rather than the elevator.

10. Do Isometrics

Joe Stankowski, C.P.T in interview with Men's Fitness recommends doing isometric exercises, as they can be especially easy to do at work, where you hold certain movements for periods of time to strengthen the muscles, can be great for toning and positively influencing the core, upper body and posture. You can do these at the office or on the go when traveling for work!

11. Have Good Posture

In an interview with Forbes, Jason Queiros, a chiropractor at Stamford Sports & Spine, in Connecticut, recommends sitting up straight and stretching, in order to keep the body loose and agile. Having a great posture can help with being more flexible and active in daily tasks, and you can get more benefits from sitting up straight than slumping.

Even if you also exercise out of office hours, it doesn't hurt to squeeze in more activity during the day to beat the sitting and sedentary lifestyle that often comes with typical desk jobs and long commutes. Staying active is great for the mind and body, so try these moves to feel more awake and agile at work.

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