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Under Desk Exercise: Get Fit While You Work

Updated on August 1, 2014

Stuck in the Office? Try Under-Desk Exercise

When I started spending long hours at my desk, I started noticing a corresponding increase in my waistline. And when I started working from home, it only got worse, since my morning "commute" no longer even included the short walk from the parking garage to my office and back again. I've recently been trying to add fitness back into my regime with under-desk cardio machines and some simple exercises. Since I'm still stuck at a desk most of the day, I've been trying to get out more during lunch and try under-desk exercise while I'm pounding the keyboard. Here are some tips and tools I've been discovering.

(Update: I've given up under-desk exercise in favor of my new FitDesk exercise desk/bike. See below for more information!)

(Image: TrekDesk available on amazon. See link below.)

Mini Exercise Bikes - Pedaling is a great under-desk exercise

If you want an aerobic exercise you can do at work, under-desk bicycles are great. They slide right under your desk, so they don't take up any extra room. I love these contraptions because pedaling is a great under-desk exercise to do while you're on the phone or on the computer.

stretching poster
stretching poster

Under Desk Exercises

Stretches and exercises that don't require any equipment

These are some simple at-desk and under-desk exercises I found online. They're quick, easy to do, don't require any equipment and will help you sneak a little exercise into your day even when you can't get away from your desk. You'll find more at WebMD, which also offers this good advice:

"Don't let fear of embarrassment keep you from exercising at work. Chances are, your co-workers will admire your efforts rather than be amused."

Easy Desk Exercises

- Sitting in your chair, lift one leg off the seat, extend it out straight in front of you, hold for two seconds, and then lower your foot until it's just above the floor and hold for several seconds. Repeat 15 times on each leg.

- Place both hands on your chair arms and slowly lift your bottom off the chair. Lower yourself back down but stop short of the seat. Hold for a few seconds. Repeat 15 times.

- Sit up straight and try to touch your shoulder blades together. Hold and then relax.

- Hold the seat of your chair and extend your legs straight out in front of you until they are parallel to the floor. Flex and point your toes five times. Release, and then repeat.

(Image of stretching poster provided by amazon)

Under Desk Mini Elliptical Trainer - Mini elliptical fits right under your desk

If you prefer elliptical machines to bikes, you might prefer this under-desk elliptical trainer.

Stamina 55-1610 InMotion E1000 Elliptical Trainer
Stamina 55-1610 InMotion E1000 Elliptical Trainer

From Amazon: Forget the gym. Now you can enjoy a full cardio workout in the comfort of your home or office with this compact elliptical trainer from Stamina Products. Unlike full-size ellipticals, this trainer doesn't have arms or a front console. Instead, the trainer is essentially foot pedals only, with a chassis that's small enough to store under a desk or in a closet. Despite the small size, the trainer still packs a workout wallop, letting you burn a similar number of calories as jogging but without the risk of injury to the back, knees, hips, or ankles. Just keep your feet moving on the pedals--which continually oscillate in a low-impact manner--and you're set. Other details include sturdy steel construction, non-slip pedals, and an electronic fitness monitor that tracks the number of strides per minute, total number of strides, exercise time, and calories burned.

 

Compact Under Desk Stepping Machine - Stamina InStride Electronic Stepper

They also make mini steppers to fit right under your desk at work or at home.

Stamina InStride Electronic Stepper
Stamina InStride Electronic Stepper

From Amazon: Limited in space but still want a great cardiovascular workout? Look no further than the Stamina InStride electronic stepper, which offers a footprint of only 12 inches wide by 16 inches long. As a result, you can use your InStride stepper just about anywhere--in front of the TV, while on the phone, in your sunroom, outside on the patio, or even at work. The InStride stepper is even small enough to toss into a workout bag and take on vacation. The stepper is equipped with two hydraulic cylinders that create a stepping motion similar to those of commercial stair steppers. As you step, you work your calves, thighs, buttocks, and core while boosting your cardio, helping you burn calories and fat. The InStride's battery-operated multifunction fitness monitor, meanwhile, times each workout and counts the number of steps, so you can stay motivated and on track to reach your fitness goals.

 

FitDesk - Desk exercise bike won't fit UNDER your desk because it IS a desk

The FitDesk exercise bike doesn't exactly belong on this page because it doesn't fit under your desk - it IS a desk. But I'm adding it here because I think it will appeal to many people who want to exercise while working. This is what I now use while working at home. Whenever I'm on Facebook, checking email or writing articles, online, I'm on my FitDesk. And I've lost 30 pounds without dieting!

It's great for work-at-home moms (or dads), Facebook addicts, or anyone who spends a lot of time on the computer and has room in their home or office for a lightweight, portable exercise desk. It's a great way to get fit while getting the job done. I absolutely love mine!

FitDesk Semi-Recumbent Pedal Desk
FitDesk Semi-Recumbent Pedal Desk

Description: Imagine surfing the web, checking your email, keeping up with friends on social networks, beating the next level on your favorite game, or finishing that big deadline, all while losing weight and improving your cardiovascular health. Now you can converge health and productivity with FitDesk. This unique patent pending design provides comfortable placement of your forearms on a padded and contoured desk surface for stable handsfree use of keyboards and game controllers. Supports your upper body for extremely comfortable use. Like no other exercise product available you will find your self "lost" in your favorite wired era pastime while your heart rate is increased for longer, and more consistent daily exercise. Not only will your entire body benefit from this movement but you will be amazed at how much more you can get done by staying connected and organized with the increased time found. While health and productivity are important enough we did not stop there. We used the highest quality parts and designs available to insure years of quiet, smooth and highly adjustable performance. You will find the resistance level will have plenty to "grow" into. Please try our product and see how easy it is to find time to improve your daily exercise regimen, stay organized and connected, and so much more.

 

Fitness 9 to 5: Easy Exercises for the Working Week - A book with suggestions for keeping fit at work

If you can't get away from the office and need more than a few stretches to get back in shape, this book details plenty of exercises and stretches you can do at your desk and in the office.

Fitness 9 to 5: Easy Exercises for the Working Week
Fitness 9 to 5: Easy Exercises for the Working Week

From Amazon: The latest trend in fitness for the overworked and underexercised? The office cubicle, of course! Fitness 9 to 5 is the perfect antidote to long hours hunched over a desk and missed dates with the gym. This handy book features 75 quick and easy exercises that can be performed discreetly while sitting at a desk, standing at a file cabinet, and even on the morning commute. Coffee Pot Curls in the kitchenette build up biceps, while Stairwell Bun Blasters are sure to improve the bottom line. And stress-busters for tired eyes and wrists keep computer fatigue at bay. A calorie count is provided for each exercise, so it's easy to see how simple changes can shed pounds. With charming illustrations and step-by-step instructions, Fitness 9 to 5 is the best defense against the office candy jar.

 

Exercise Ball Chairs - Just sitting on these balls can provide some exercise

Sitting in a chair isn't exercise, but if you sit on an exercise ball instead, you'll be using some of your muscles just while sitting. Exercise ball chairs promote flexibility, coordination and tension release.

Working On the Ball: A Simple Guide to Office Fitness - This book can give you more information about exercise ball chairs

If you're planning to get a balance ball chair, this book can help you learn how to get the most from it. The authors give you tips on using "active sitting" techniques to improve your health while working.

Working on the Ball: A Simple Guide to Office Fitness
Working on the Ball: A Simple Guide to Office Fitness

From Amazon: People today are spending more time at work and less time being active, whether by sitting in front of a computer all day or in a car battling grueling traffic-or both! Working on the Ball solves this problem by providing an innovative, playful approach to fitness, no gym shoes or expensive club membership required.

Authors Jane Clapp and Sarah Robichaud, both fitness professionals, don't take themselves-or readers-too seriously. They offer a fun, reasonable routine that any office worker can follow from day one.

Hour by hour, the authors take readers through a full day of 'active sitting,' using a stability ball as a chair, and provide guidance for making healthy choices in the workplace.

Also included are photographs to help illustrate each exercise and plenty of encouragement, motivation, and coaching. The authors even offer tips on after-work stress management and other health subjects.

 

TrekDesk - Walk while you work

If you want to put some really BIG exercise equipment under your desk - like a full-size treadmill - you might need a new desk. TrekDesk is the answer. This desktop attaches to almost any treadmill and will give you a new way to work out while you work.

The desktop measures 72 x 34 inches and includes a manuscript holder, file folder, and two cup holders. It adjusts to fit any user between 5'4" and 6'4" tall and can hold up to 55 pounds of equipment.

TrekDesk Treadmill Desk
TrekDesk Treadmill Desk

This innovative desktop fits almost any treadmill so you can walk while you work.

 

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Do You Exercise at Your Desk?

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    • john-tabernik profile image

      john-tabernik 3 years ago

      Very interesting suggestions! I had no idea so many pitons were available!

    • AnonymousC831 profile image

      AnonymousC831 3 years ago from Kentucky

      Great informational lens, nicely done.

    • JRsFavoriteFinds profile image

      JRsFavoriteFinds 3 years ago

      Great information! The Exercise Ball Chair is the only thing I had heard of before.

    • Lynn Klobuchar profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 3 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

      I so want to set up a station like one of these at home for when I do my writing. Still trying to figure out the right combination of products at a reasonable price.

    • Nithya Venkat profile image

      Nithya Venkat aka Vellur 3 years ago from Dubai

      Thank you for sharing this information, I never knew about these before. Great lens.

    • chookyco profile image

      chookyco 3 years ago

      Seen this on the news but never like this :) thanks for the great info

    • profile image

      Pete1000 4 years ago

      Excellent and very informative lens. One I will come back to.

    • tonyaalves3 profile image

      tonyaalves3 4 years ago

      Wow! That's to funny. I love the idea. I am also at my desk

    • Raymond Eagar profile image

      Raymond Eagar 4 years ago

      Never thought of it , good idea .

    • profile image

      fcinternetmarketing 4 years ago

      Very helpful information.

    • profile image

      fire218 4 years ago

      Dang never would of thought of this. Whoever invented that is a good multitasker and time manager.

    • profile image

      Mobley5 4 years ago

      Nice! I didn't know that half of these things existed!

    • profile image

      ChristyZ 4 years ago

      What a great idea! I love the mini bikes. :)

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 4 years ago

      Just heard about these. Thank you for introducing it. Sundae ;-)

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 4 years ago

      Fantastic! No, I don't and I really need to!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have never heard of these machines, but they seem great!

    • profile image

      mommateaches 4 years ago

      I've never even heard of many of these underdesk machines! I'm going to have to look into a mini-elliptical! What an informative and useful lens :)

    • profile image

      moonlitta 4 years ago

      I don't. But I truly need to:)

    • HardyGirl profile image

      HardyGirl 4 years ago

      Guess I need to put my exercise ball here at my desk! Thanks for the push into fitness!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Take Stresstabs to help you stay fit also! Everyone feel free to have a look at my 'Stresstabs' lens and let me know what you think... I'd appreciate it, thanks!

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 4 years ago

      Now we're talking! These are some EXCELLENT ideas, Lisa... And I'm taking your suggestions quite seriously. The balance ball chair looks like a good one, and the idea of moving my legs while sitting at the desk is also excellent.

    • profile image

      LadyDuck 4 years ago

      Putting a fitness tool under the desk is a great idea! I am going to place my mini bike under it and I'll try not to knock my knees :D

    • profile image

      john9229 4 years ago

      I should get one in my office! Great Lens!

    • DivaChick LM profile image

      DivaChick LM 4 years ago

      I haven't yet, unless sitting on a stability ball count. :-D can't wait to add more exercise in :-D

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      I don't but i love the idea of it. It's great if you have a home office but have little time for going out to exercise.

    • profile image

      ParkourTrainer 4 years ago

      This is awesome. I never realized this type of stuff existed!

    • profile image

      kevin-colburn1 4 years ago

      We just released the DeskCycle in January. It's like our MagneTrainer shown above but it has a lower profile so that it will fit under desks as low as 27 inches.

    • profile image

      FashionMommy 4 years ago

      Awesome ideas! Terrific lens!

    • profile image

      traveldestinations 4 years ago

      Just what I need.

    • profile image

      HazelRachel 4 years ago

      Fantastic lens...great ideas!!

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 4 years ago from London, England

      Excellent ideas for keeping fit.

    • Squidpunk profile image

      Squidpunk 4 years ago

      Did not know they existed. I spend all winter on my computer and wanted something to keep my feet busy.

    • profile image

      ChroniclesofaWa 4 years ago

      This is good to know since I have been spending more and more time on the computer. :)

    • MBradley McCauley profile image

      MBradley McCauley 4 years ago

      Checking some of these suggestions out......need something since I sit so much of the day at my writing desk.

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 4 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      Lovely idea. I need something like this!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Nice equipment and lens, thank you for sharing

    • profile image

      myspace9 4 years ago

      Beautiful lens and valuable information too.

    • profile image

      Timsmansmall 4 years ago

      I exercise my eyes and hands at the desk and that is it. Great ideas for getting fit.

    • profile image

      BookLoverFrank 4 years ago

      No I don't. But, I'm sitting in front of my computer all day long; and yes, I need exercise. You really make me think. Now all I have to do is ACT, right?

    • profile image

      mumsgather 4 years ago

      I think those of us who write on Squidoo for long hours could do with one of these.

    • LiliLove profile image

      LiliLove 4 years ago

      No, but I could! Thanks for sharing the information =)

    • profile image

      clothing4boys 4 years ago

      This is exactly what I am looking for.

    • plecasso lm profile image

      plecasso lm 4 years ago

      very informative a great lens for office workers

    • StretchingExerc profile image

      StretchingExerc 4 years ago

      Great lens! Very unique and helpful I'm sure for many people. Lots of these pieces of equipment are new to me but appear to help get the job done. Among them though, my favorite thus far has to be the stability ball.

    • profile image

      mlmvc45 4 years ago

      Hello,everyone my name is Lilian from USA i never ever believed in spell until i meet a man called Dr upesa, who help me cast a spell that bring back my ex-lover who left me for one years before our marriage,His spells works beyond my imaginations and today i am happily married two kids and me and my [ex-lover] now husband are very happy more than ever before,what more can i say rather than to say thank you Dr upesa for been there for me,contact him today and your life will never ever remain the same his email is upesaspelltemple@gmail.com

    • BodyWrap profile image

      BodyWrap 4 years ago

      Perfect for desk-bound lifestyles!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I take a quick 2 minute break every 45mins to an hour and that really helps. I also have an exercise bike at home made by Reebok and the saddle is dreadful

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      No I don't exercise at my desk, but I know I should. I have an exercise bike in my office but I don't use it enough. I am thinking that those under desk mini exercise bikes may suit me.

    • Loganor profile image

      Loganor 4 years ago

      I have one of those under-desk bicycles for the winter when I am not able to get outdoors as much and it really does help keep me fit.

    • profile image

      CristianStan 4 years ago

      All these products should win awards for best invention, I definitely need one of these since I spend long hours sitting at a computer.

    • Rickbob LM profile image

      Rickbob LM 4 years ago

      It's funny because I used to do some of these exercises at my desk. Sitting back in my chair and lifting my legs really helped firm my stomach, although it looked funny to my co workers. lol. Nice Lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      great lens :)

    • kopox profile image

      kopox 4 years ago

      very useful info for those who worked behind the desk all day long...

    • rugjeff lm profile image

      rugjeff lm 4 years ago

      Looks great, appreciate the information.

    • profile image

      ACGroup1 4 years ago

      This gave me plenty of ideas and the motivation to break out my exercise equipment since I work at home. Thanks

    • spids1 profile image

      spids1 4 years ago

      Great lens very well written.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi there, I usually try to get out of the office during my lunchbreak, but i like the stepper thing above. Some great ideas here, thank you :)

    • N Beaulieu profile image

      N Beaulieu 4 years ago

      What great ideas! I work at a desk all day and now that the days are getting shorter I don't have much time to head outside for a nice walk after the work day. I'm definitely going to give some of these a try.

    • profile image

      every1fit 5 years ago

      Great lens! Simple walking and stretching while in front of you office desk can really release a tension and you also able to gain great health benefits. Just for sharing hereâs a 5 min exercise at your desk videos (http://e1fit.com/articles/positive-fitness-in-the-... that used to do while in office.. hope it helps.

    • HomeDecorKnight profile image

      HomeDecorKnight 5 years ago

      Fitness is wealth, To keep fit exercise is must. This lens is informative about desk exercise. good lens.

    • profile image

      dressygirlkouture 5 years ago

      not really but I should! nice lens!

    • radasum profile image

      radasum 5 years ago

      No, not really. Nice lens.

    • RaintreeAnnie profile image

      RaintreeAnnie 5 years ago from UK

      I certainly do ! Since I have had back issues I realised the importance of doing exercises to counteract sitting at a desk. I mostly do not get back pain anymore but I do get up every 30-60 mins or so and do specific exercises and this has helped enormously.I also have an exercise ball similar to the one you show here I which is good for me to use at a desk. Sitting still for long periods of time isn't good for anyone. I like your ideas here for exercising at a desk, it is very good advice :)

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I only exercise my mind (and my fingers) at my desk. These look like something I need. Sometimes my ankles swell up if I sit too much.

    • JenwithMisty profile image

      Jen withFlash 5 years ago

      I would love to have one of those exercise desks!!! I was actually thinking about how cool it would be to have one of those the other day. I'm so sick of sitting at a desk all day.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I don't, but I should. Great advice here.

    • Andrej977 LM profile image

      Andrej977 LM 5 years ago

      I have a small gym ball for doing knee strengthening exercises.

      Nice lens!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 5 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      I have been thinking about getting one of these.

    • profile image

      kelseykb 5 years ago

      I've been doing this for a couple of months now, and I love it! I've worked up to pedaling 4 hours a day. I love getting to release all my pent up energy while still getting my work done.

    • Lenskeeper profile image

      Lenskeeper 5 years ago

      Great information for those of us who work on computers all day, especially at home! Blessed by Lenskeeper.

    • profile image

      Thamisgith 5 years ago

      Sounds like a great way to multi-task. Get fit and get some work done as well. I could be unbearably smug after that!

    • MarcoG profile image

      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      I've never really thought about exercising at my desk. I've just recently got over a bout of sciatica, so used a balance disk on my chair...that's sort of exercise at my desk, right? lol

    • profile image

      SquiNoob 5 years ago

      I wonder if something like The Flex Belt would be effective at work. I know these types of devices have been around forever but they are sure trumping the "clinically proven" angle.

    • profile image

      acneanswers 5 years ago

      I'm self employed so can go for a wander round my 'office' whenever I like. In summer it's great as my office includes the garden!

    • OCDiscusFish profile image

      OCDiscusFish 5 years ago

      nice lens, please check us out too!!

    • OrganicMom247 profile image

      OrganicMom247 5 years ago

      Thanks for these great ideas. I usually spend a lot of time sitting down facing my computer. Now, I have some exercises that I can do while sitting down. Thanks for the useful information.

    • ayng29 lm profile image

      ayng29 lm 5 years ago

      I'm going to start working a full-time job next week and I realize I need this! I'll be working 8 hours in front of a computer and my own desk. I'm not the type who gains weight but I know a lifestyle without exercise is unhealthy. Thanks for the instructions!

    • ayng29 lm profile image

      ayng29 lm 5 years ago

      I'm going to start working a full-time job next week and I realize I need this! I'll be working 8 hours in front of a computer and my own desk. I'm not the type who gains weight but I know a lifestyle without exercise is unhealthy. Thanks for the instructions!

    • sbconcepts profile image

      sbconcepts 5 years ago

      Not currently but you have given me some great choices for me to incorporate it into my days while working on Squidoo!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I went to the gym yesterday and hope to maintain this schedule regularly.

    • profile image

      Busy_and_Fit 5 years ago

      Good stuff

    • Nithya Venkat profile image

      Nithya Venkat aka Vellur 5 years ago from Dubai

      Great ideas to work out when you are stuck in office.

    • mrsclaus411 profile image

      mrsclaus411 5 years ago

      I should. Thank you for this helpful ideas.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Thanks for the tips:)

    • profile image

      donyackel 5 years ago

      @PaulWinter: Why not try a Fitdesk to keep moving while sitting?!

    • PaulWinter profile image

      PaulWinter 5 years ago

      Some great ways of keeping fit while sitting at the desk.

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 5 years ago

      Amazing how much stuff is available for these exercises. Thanks for sharing.

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 5 years ago

      Amazing how much stuff is available for these exercises. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 5 years ago

      I never knew there was so much stuff available for "under" desk exercising. The bike idea looks terrific. Thank you.

    • mgs249 profile image

      mgs249 5 years ago

      These are great ideas. Many people are stuck at their computers and need to get some circulation going. Way to go.

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Wish I'd have known these things when I was working...now I am retired and am barely exercising...OOPS! Blessed

    • julescorriere profile image

      Jules Corriere 5 years ago from Jonesborough TN

      Back to your lens to sprinkle a little Angel Blessings on it!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Where I work there is a gym in the building and I go there during my lunch hour. So I don't have a need to do that at this point. But things can change and that is a great idea. I never knew a product like those existed. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Always great ideas to keep your body busy while you sit - I usually just take breaks to do some push-ups and such, but these are also excellent ideas! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • profile image

      fish-oil-expert 5 years ago

      I don't know if i could actually exercise under my desk... sounds hard to concentrate on my work. Why not just get up and exercise? :)

    • SquidooRocks55 profile image

      SquidooRocks55 5 years ago

      Thanks for the great post. Nice

    • profile image

      turnerpool 5 years ago

      Great informative lens! These are great tips on what to do when your stuck in an office all day. I found a great website that has cheap weights if anyone wants to check it out. www.cheapweights.org you will find the cheapest online exercise equipment there.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      There's some very scary research that has been done to assess the effects of what sitting down does to the body. It's not just sitting at the desk all day, it is the same when watching TV. I try to get in the habit of standing up when I am on the phone - but I keep forgetting :(

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      Great ideas - thank you for the wonderful suggestions.

    • profile image

      Slammin426 5 years ago

      No, but I know a lot of folks who need to be exercising at their desk, including me. This is so good and since most of us sit a a 9 - 5 JOB we need help to get some cardio in, what a great IDEA!