Sitting down is killing you. And if you’re the type whose only exercise is walking from the desk to the elevator (it’s OK; we’ve all been there), then you’re 80% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than your more fitness-focused coworkers. Don’t sweat it, people. We’re here to save your life, one baby step at a time. Start with the nine best exercises for sedentary workers, and don’t stop ’til you get enough. Or at least until you’ve burned a few calories.
Every journey starts with a single step. Go for a walk around your office building, or even just a walk around the office. If you’re having a hard time fighting office inertia, enlist an accountability partner, preferably one on the other side of the building. Anti-social workers can get a dorky pedometer. Your first goal should be 1,000 extra steps a day. That’s two laps around the parking lot.
It’s often the most trite and obvious advice, but it’s still around because you just don’t do it. And we know you don’t do it, because there are plenty of perfectly ambulatory people cramming themselves into elevators right now. If you’re a sedentary worker, try taking the stairs for once. Every flight you can manage will burn about 10 calories.
Yoga is a low-impact exercise with both internal and external benefits. Even if you’re bound to a cubicle and can’t see outside, feel free to freak out your cube mates with a sun salutation routine every morning. And desk yoga is a real thing, too. Incorporating a few of these daily exercises can help both your body and your brain. And we assure you, they both could use the help.
If you’re not into office chair choreography, consider using a fitness ball instead of an office chair. You’ll have proper posture, and it’s a simple way to incorporate mini-stretches and other exercise throughout the day. A word to the wise: warn anyone that would potentially make fun a few days before the switch, and offer to be a good sport and listen to their jokes firsthand. You can’t just start sitting on a big purple balloon and expect the chair-dwellers not to notice.
If you work 9 to 5 and you have a few TV shows that you like to watch (or at least one hobby), your daily schedule probably feels pretty full. But it really wouldn’t kill you to join a gym. Gyms are kind of fun these days — there are lots of different classes, and most of the machines have their own little TVs now. You might even have a home DVR. Don’t be scared; lots of lazy office workers go to the gym. It’s not all body builders and beach bodies, we promise.
If you can choreograph with office furniture as well as these guys, you’re probably in the wrong profession. Forming and performing as a dance crew can increase your fitness level and office morale. And if you get on America’s Best Dance Crew, you could catapult yourself into glory. Start small, with baby steps and take your time perfecting your routine — popping, dropping, and locking looks like super hard work.
A little bit can stretch a long way. Have a stretch at your desk at work. Elongate and tense (that’s flex, to you beefcakes) your arms and legs, as well as lengthening the torso and arching the back. Stretching can be done at your desk, and it’s a lazy person’s way of burning a few extra calories. Bonus points if you knock something over.
If at all possible, walk or bike to work. A modification for this technique for those with necessary commutes? Park super far away. Most cities have public transportation and everyone has a cell phone. Trust us: you will be OK. Once you’ve done a little office workout, there’s no reason for you not to go the extra (literal) mile. Make sure you’ve got appropriate clothing and wardrobe changes if you’re traveling long distances. Enjoy the small steps to fitness, be they giant leaps to the lazy worker.