Sneak In Some Exercise In Your Office

  • Workouts don’t have to be 30-45 minutes at a gym
  • Anything that ups your heart rate or challenges your muscles is helping your body
  • Find a few simple exercises that you can do when you’re stuck at the office

Every lawyer has periods of time when they’re practically living in the office and can’t get to the gym.

Needless to say, you’re not finding time to attend a fitness class when you’re buried under a pile of work. But you don’t have to forego physical fitness altogether. Chances are, even on those crazy days, you have a few minutes to spare (and, to maximize productivity, you should take short breaks periodically anyway). There are many exercises to choose from that you can do right in your office, without gym equipment and without changing out of your work clothes. You don’t need to break a sweat to fire up your muscles, burn a few extra calories and reap some physical benefits of exercise. Experts agree that exercise is cumulative and even small amounts of physical activity are better than none.

Below are several moves you can do at work. So when you have five minutes, close your office door or find an empty conference room, and give some of these a try.

Get On The Floor

One of the most basic exercises that you can do anywhere (assuming the floor is clean enough) are good, old-fashioned push-ups. This exercise works your chest, arms and core and can be adjusted to varying degrees of difficulty. And it’s surprisingly easy to do in work clothes. If a regular push-up is too hard, you can try desk push-ups instead, by putting your hands on your desk and walking your feet back so your body is at an angle. These are also a good alternative if you don’t want to get on the floor. Do 3 sets of 10-15 push-ups each.

As another alternative, you can hold a plank for a minute and squeeze your core, glutes and legs. These can be done with straight arms with hands positioned directly under your shoulders or on your forearms with your elbows directly under your shoulders. If you can’t hold a plank for a full minute, start with 30 seconds and work your way up. Use a stopwatch app on your phone to keep track of your time. To increase the difficulty, alternate lifting one leg and then the other for a few seconds while holding the plank.

Get Your Heart Rate Up

If you’re feeling lethargic or just need a little cardio during your day, try 60-second bursts of aerobic activity such as jumping jacks, jumping invisible rope or sprinting in place. You can do a few reps in a row (with a rest period in between, of course) or you can work in a few of these short bursts throughout your day. A minute of cardio won’t turn you into a sweaty mess but it will increase your heart rate and rev up your energy levels. If you feel really uncomfortable doing this type of activity in the office, or don’t have enough privacy to pull it off, replace this exercise with a brisk walks outside.

Are you ever able to exercise in the office? How do you manage it? If you never have, do you think there are ways that you can?

Get Your Legs Burning

While squats and lunges are a fairly standard way to exercise your legs, and can be done in your office if your attire allows you sufficient range of motion, there is another way to fire up your lower body: the wall-sit. This static exercise in which you hold a “seated” position against a wall fires up your quads, glutes and hamstrings. After a short while your legs will burn. Try to incrementally increase the length of time you can hold this position. You can even multitask during your wall-sit. Print some cases or documents and keep reading while you “sit.”

While trying to get your heart rate up in an office setting is far from ideal, as is being stuck in the office for hours upon hours, taking a few minutes to do something for yourself will make you feel a little bit better. Short breaks, just getting your heart rate going even if not during a full-fledged workout, will help your energy levels and help you maintain your health when you can’t get to the gym for those brutal work stretches.

What's Next

Over the next two weeks, commit to trying some of the exercises described in the article.