The world we live in today is much different from that of our grandparents' generation. While your grandfather may have earned money slaving away at a factory or on a farm, most of us now work out of offices where we sit comfortably behind our desks - often for extended periods of time. There are many pros to not having a job where you're put in physical danger on a daily basis; however, sitting at our computers typing away all day has left us a bit out of shape. 

It doesn't have to be this way, though. There are many ways that we can stay active and get in at least thirty minutes of exercise during our workdays. We've compiled a list aimed at keeping you fit so that you not only rock at your job but also maintain a rockin' body outside of it. Of course, with just thirty minutes of exercise a day, it's unlikely that you'll develop the physique of a bodybuilder. On the other hand, you could even combine this with twenty minutes of exercise at home every other day and get some great results. That doesn't sound so bad, now does it? 

Exercises for Around the Office Building 

Here are a selection of exercise that you can do that maximise the space that you have around you at work. You could do these on your way into work, or during your lunch times/break times. You have to go there anyway, so you may as well make best use of the facilities! 

Cardiovascular Exercises At The Workplace 

  1. Parking Lot Jogging: The idea here is that you would park as far away from your work building entrance as you can in the parking lot. You’d then jog to the entrance, or walk if you’d really rather not build up a sweat :-)  

  2. Distance Items: Move your most frequently used items as far across your office as you can (without becoming counter productive of course). Whenever you need them, you'll have to walk to them instead of sitting at your desk and simply reaching. Every little helps, after all! 

  3. Stair Running: Instead of taking the lift every day, why not opt for the stairs? If your office is on the top floor and you don't want to risk being late or getting too out of breath, you could even do a 50/50 split - take the lift half of the way and the stairs the other half of the way.  

  4. Arm Pumps: As you climb the stairs (which are most likely free of coworkers), pump your arms as if you are sprinting. 

  5. Walk While You Sell: Walk around your office while you try to make sales (this is actually a very good tip for increased sales productivity too).  

  6. Take Walking Breaks: Although we’re all in the habit of emailing ideas and thoughts to co-workers, why email this when you could walk to your colleague and have a productive chat with them? Not only will this keep you more active, it might help you build relationships with other employees.  

Legs and Buttocks 

  1. Squat Jumps While You Print: As you’ve just been told to go to print off hundreds of documents at the printer anyway, you might as well make good use of the time! Rather than sitting down and switching off while you wait for the print run to finish, why not try some squat jumps? To do these, simply put your hands to your side and keep your feet shoulder width apart. Lower yourself down like you would with a normal squat, then jump as high as possible. Who said printing was boring? 

  2. Wall Squats: Stand with your back against a wall then lower yourself while bending your knees. Your thighs should be parallel with the floor while you maintain this position for about a minute. 

Exercises You Can Do While Sitting At Your Desk 

The exercises below are designed so that you can do them while going about your normal days’ work at your desk. Below, you’ll find ideas on a wide range of work-based exercises, ranging from dancing breaks to laptop bag curls and chair crunches. You’ll be in great shape in no time! 

Cardio  

  1. Toe Tapping: Quite an easy one, although it’ll still burn calories and might also get you into a good rhythm for the day! 

  2. Take A Brief Dancing Break: If you've just gained a new client, made a sale, won a promotion or just generally having a good day, why not try a dance to celebrate, relieve stress, and burn some calories all at once. Try it - you might just be surprised at the effect it has :-)  

Legs and Buttocks 

  1. Glutes Squeeze: If you’d rather keep your exercises to yourself, then this is the exercise for you. While sitting on your chair, you simply squeeze your buttocks together for up to ten seconds at a time. Do this until you get tired or feel like taking a break. 

  2. Leg Raises: This is a really effective exercise, and again, it’s one you can do without attracting too much attention to yourself. As you sit typing at your desk, you simply raise your legs before straightening them out in front of you. All you do is hold them in this position for about ten seconds, then lower them without letting your feet touch the floor. Repeat until you feel worked-out. 

  3. Stand While You Work: Instead of sitting all day, simply try standing for periods while you work. This isn't the most intensive exercise, but it does burn more calories than sitting. For more benefits of standing rather than sitting, please see this post. 

  4. Desk Dips: Sit on the edge of your desk chair and place the palms of your hands against it on each side of you, with your feet extended out in front resting on your heels. What you want to do is straighten out your arms to lift yourself up while you keep your heels on the floor. Doing this, raise yourself and then lower yourself, allowing your body to dip down.  Repeat this about ten times. 

  5. Squats: This one goes with #11. Add some squats to your standing routine. Simply lower yourself with your arms out and come back up. 

  6. Knee Squeezes: Place a ball or other object between your knees and squeeze, holding for three seconds at a time. Repeat this exercise around 10 times.  

  7. Heel Pressing: While at your desk, press the heels of your feet into the floor as you type away to train isometrically. This will strengthen your quads, hams, and glutes.  

Arms and Shoulders 

  1. Chair Raise: To perform this exercise, sit cross-legged in your chair and press your arms against the armrests to lift yourself up. Hold yourself in the air for twenty seconds, or as long as you can. Lower yourself and repeat until you feel tired.  

  2. Laptop Bag Curl: This exercise simply replaces dumbbells with a laptop bag for bicep curls. Straighten out your arm, hold the laptop bag balanced in the palm of your hand, and then curl it toward you. As you get stronger, you could add books to the back to increase resistance.  

  3. Shoulder Squeeze: Push your shoulders back until they are squeezed together. Release and then try again. See if you can get it so that by pinching your shoulders together, you can hold a pen there. 

  4. Desk Pushup: Leaning against your desk, push yourself off it at a 45-degree angle using the palms of your hands. This will work your shoulders, chest, and triceps.  

  5. Shoulder Shrugs: Making a shrugging motion with your shoulders, raise them as high as you can and hold the position for a few seconds. Continue to do this, and if you want to make things more interesting, try holding a heavy object in your hands and standing while you do it.  

Core/Abdomen 

  1. Chair Crunch: Try some isometric crunches from your chair. As you sit in it with your elbows on your thighs, pull your chest to your legs while trying not to move your arms. 

  2. Chair Rotations: Swivel chairs can make great exercise tools. While you sit in yours, hold onto the edge of your desk with your fingers and thumbs and keep your feet raised off the floor. Press against the desk and swivel from side to side to work out your abdomen. 

  3. Replacement Chair: This isn't an active exercise per se, but it will help. Try replacing your standard desk chair with a Swiss ball, which will help you exercise your core in the long run. Other options include a treadmill or stationary bike attached to your computer.