How To Exercise At Work (Without Messing Up Your Hair And Makeup)

03/11/2015 08:21 am ET | Updated Mar 27, 2015
  • Sarah Klein Senior Editor, Health & Fitness; Certified Personal Trainer

You do have enough time to exercise, really.

Especially if you make moving more a priority throughout the day, even if that's a work day.

Before you get all defensive, hear us out: You don't need to spend your lunchbreak at the gym, you don't need to be away from your desk for an entire hour, you don't even need to shower, fix your hair or touch up your makeup afterword.

Aside from smart solutions to the too-much-sitting problem like taking walking meetings and strolling over to talk to a coworker instead of emailing her, here are some easy-as-pie exercises you can do anywhere in the office -- no gym clothes necessary. We can't say your coworkers won't stare, but maybe, just maybe, you'll inspire them to join in. Oh, and maybe don't really do these in heels.

The Desk Chair Swivel

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Sitting in your swivel chair with your back straight and feet hovering just off the floor, place just your fingertips on the edge of your desk. Contract your core and use your abs to twist slowly to the left and then the right. Try for 10 twists to each side, three times throughout the workday.

Take The Stairs

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The more physical activity and the less sitting you do throughout the day, the better. If you have a meeting on another floor or when you're heading out to grab some lunch, take the stairs whenever possible. Or if you just have a few minutes to spare, try a few laps of the staircase nearest your desk.

The Coffee Break Kickback

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Sneak this glute exercise in every time you get up to refill your coffee mug. Standing tall, balance on one leg and lift the opposite leg straight back. Keep the lifted leg as straight as possible, focusing on squeezing the muscles on that side. Hold onto the counter if balancing feels tough. Complete 10 on each leg.

The Squat 'N' Sit

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Every time you return to your desk chair -- whether it's from a meeting, a bathroom break or a vending machine run -- do five squats before settling in. With feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and the chest lifted, sit down and back, tapping your rear lightly on the seat before pushing up through the heels to return to standing.

The Laptop Bicep Curl

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If you're bringing your computer to a meeting -- which, for the record, we do not recommend, for productivity's sake -- use your device to complete 10 bicep curls with each arm on your walk to the conference room. Work on getting a full range of motion with your arm, extending it straight down at your side and bringing the laptop to shoulder height on each curl. Keep the abs contracted to engage the core as you walk. If you've only got a desktop machine, a stapler or tape dispenser with a weighted bottom or even your full water bottle are good replacements.

The Waiting-For-The-Printer Pushup

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Next time you rush to the printer only to find your document stalled in a queue, don't dawdle. Bang out 10 incline pushups, using the nearest counter or wall. Start in full plank position, with your arms just wider than shoulder width apart. Keeping the spine in a straight line, lower your chest to the counter, keeping your elbows close to your sides. The higher your incline, the easier these will be -- and so very much cleaner and work appropriate than dropping all the way down to the floor!

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