Employee Wellbeing

Easy exercise you can fit in around work

Here’s 5 simple exercises you can do at your desk or workplace.
Alanah Hammond
5 minutes

Many adults who don’t regularly exercise say the reason for this is a lack of time. Instead of exercising, they have work commitments or social engagements meaning that any spare time isn’t set aside for physical activity. In fact, research showed how nearly one in four people said that they stay too late at work to have time to workout.

The NHS recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week. If we break this down, the NHS advise that you do around 20 minutes of exercise every day. With adults spending up to 40 hours a week at work, there is a great opportunity to fit in some exercise while you are at your desk. 

Research has shown how an improvement in physical wellbeing is intrinsically linked to an improvement in work performance. Therefore the benefits of exercise, such as an increased productivity, makes it a no-brainer to at least try out exercising while you are at work either on your break or in between meetings.

At Myles Wellbeing, we’ve come up with five easy exercises you can fit in around work to make sure you are hitting your exercise targets. 

1. Standing exercises

If you work in an office, a great way to exercise without much effort is to use a standing desk. These desks not only help you close your standing goal ring on your smart watch, but you can burn calories from just standing. Research shows that standing burns about 100-200 calories per hour, while sitting burns 60-130 calories. Such a difference may not seem big, but after five days a week over a long period of time, it can really add up. 

By using a standing desk, you can also easily do certain types of standing exercise. For example, lunges or squats are easy to fit in on calls or when you’re thinking over your response to your next email. If you repeatedly do a few reps of each exercise, you can reach your 20 minute exercise goal in no time.   

2. Balance board 

​​Myles Wellbeing spoke to our CEO and co-founder, Toby Cannon, about his tips for exercising at work. Working remotely, Toby recognised the importance of changing up his working habits, and, for example, incorporating exercise into his work routine.

Not only does Toby have a standing desk, but he is also an advocate for balance boards. Toby told Myles Wellbeing that the board “improves balance, strengthens core and is something fun to play on”. He did however admit that he’s fallen over a few times on video calls, so if you do invest in one, you have been warned! 

3. Weights

According to GOV.UK, around one in three (34 percent) of men and one in two (42 percent) of women are not active enough for good health. An easy way to exercise at work is through weights, which are great for building muscle. 

We spoke to Marcus Axelson, Head of Sales at Myles Wellbeing, who told us his experience of using weights at work. He explained that he uses a dumbbell to do little exercises throughout the day at his desk. 

Marcus added, “I particularly do little workouts when I'm thinking about a project or strategising– it takes my mind away from the computer screen and allows me to think clearly”. Such a comment is testament to research which shows how employees who don’t exercise very much are 50% more likely to have high presenteeism than employees who are regular exercisers.

4. Lunch walks

Taking a walk on your lunch break or, if you have access to one, exercising on a treadmill while you read your work emails, is a great way to get your steps in at work. By going on a walk outside, you are giving your body a rest from your screen and general working environment. Plus, it ensures that you are actually taking your lunch break which research worryingly shows how only one in three people step away from their work to respite for lunch.

5. Sitting exercises

If you don’t have a standing desk, worry not as there are plenty of exercises you can do at a sitting desk. You can target your exercise and, for example, focus on upper body, lower body or core, depending on what you fancy on the day.

If you’re exercising your upper body, try out triceps dips. To do this, find a stationary chair and place both hands flat on the edge of the seat, facing forward. Bend your elbows straight and lower yourself down to a point where you can feel tension, but it isn't uncomfortable. Then straighten your arms to rise back to start. Repeat this for a number of reps, for example 15, and remember to have a good break between reps.

For the lower body, try wall sits. This is where you hold you back against a wall until your hips and knees are making a 90-degree angle. Try to maintain the position for 30-60 seconds, then release and repeat.

If you would rather work out your core at work and have a swivel chair, oblique twists may be for you. Sit straight and hover your feet above the floor while holding onto the edge of your desk. Then, engage your core by swivelling the chair from side to side, going back and forth for 15 times. 

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