Work Out @ Work

No stapler toss or desk-press required

By Micaela Whitworth

Sitting for a long, uninterrupted period of time is linked to cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and abnormal cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, for most of us, a typical day consists of sitting on our butts an average of 10 to 12 hours.

Jump for joy, because between emails, conference calls, meetings and commuting, you can find time for fitness. Just because you can’t make it to the gym doesn’t mean you don’t have opportunities throughout the day to get your heart pumping and muscles burning.

The cumulative benefits of many shorter bouts of exercise still counts towards the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity. Here are a few tips to keep you moving throughout the day, even at your desk.

Upper Body:

Work your upper body by placing both hands on chair arms. Slowly lift butt off the chair. Slowly lower yourself back down; stop short of the seat; hold a few seconds. Do 15 times. Repeat throughout the day for as many sets as possible. Helps improve upper body strength, creates postural awareness.

Lower Body:

Strengthen your glutes and improve lower body stability with one-legged squats each time you leave your chair. Hold on to your desk for support. Extend one leg out. Attempt to stand up from your chair, then lower yourself back down in a controlled manner. Repeat on the other side. Build on reps and sets throughout the day.

Core Strength:

From your chair, contract your abdomen as much as you can and attempt to lift one foot off the floor. Use the strength of your core. Slowly, and in a controlled manner, lower your leg back down. Repeat five to 10 times on each side as often as possible throughout the day.


Sit up straight, contract your abdomen, depress your shoulders down and try to touch shoulder blades. Hold for one to five seconds. Relax. Repeat.


Every office has at least one staircase if not multiple sets. Make the most of your office’s architecture and get climbing. A recent study conducted by the University College Dublin Institute for Sport & Health concluded that climbing stairs throughout the day can increase your aerobic fitness and reduce harmful LDL cholesterol. Quick interval training won’t take more than two minutes of your time and can improve your aerobic capacity by up to 17 percent.

Burn Bonus Calories:

Park a few blocks away from the office. Get in extra cardio before and after work.
Get up and go. Speak with colleagues in person as opposed to emailing or calling.
Take a 30-minute walk (or as long as permitted) on your lunch break.

Micaela Whitworth is a personal trainer and certified medical exercise specialist. Catch Micaela extol the virtues of physical fitness on Montreal’s Global TV news affiliate.

Fall 2013, Vol 5 N°4

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