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How to Get Fit When You Work Too Much

Topics: Work Culture
get fit

You understand that it’s important to make time for exercise. Your boss, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo.

When your workday lasts all day, it’s tempting to resign yourself to that couch potato lifestyle. But there are some ways you can easily integrate fitness into your workday, and plenty of reasons why getting fitter could be one of the best things you do for your career, too.

Stretch at Your Desk

Start with desk yoga and loosen up those tired neck, shoulder and back muscles. There are also simple exercises you can do at your desk that will tone areas from your calves to your abs.

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You can even play this desk-yoga video that doesn’t have audible instructions, to keep your daily stretches on the down low. Just be sure to hit mute if you don’t want to wear headphones … or bother your cubicle neighbors with the background music.

Exercise Good Mental Health

Yep, your mind needs as much attention as your body. Don’t forget to take a few minutes of your day for a mental health break! You can do a few minutes of guided meditation with apps like, Headspace or Stop, Breathe, & Think. New to meditation? Try a range of quick meditation recordings (in English or Spanish) from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.

Mindful has some quick tips for meditating at work , which may start with finding somewhere away from the ruckus to get peace and quiet.

Try a Desk Gadget

You might have heard of treadmill desks, but getting fit at work doesn’t have to be that expensive. Here are a few options:

  • Add a box at the right height to make a quick convertible standing desk to vary your routine. (Just make sure to keep things ergonomic.)
  • Try a pedal desk. Get your feet and legs moving while you pedal under the cover of your desk. Great for avoiding stiffness and keeping that blood circulating. Classrooms even use these to help kids burn off excited energy to promote focus.
  • Sit on a ball. Change out your chair for a balance ball to work on that posture and core.

Why Work Out at Work

Sadly, research shows that those who get promoted are often the more fit among us. How does this work? It’s not how you might think. We’re not talking about biggest muscles or slimmest thighs leading to that corner office, it’s about what exercise and fitness affords you in terms of productivity and focus.

“NASA conducted a study showing that people who make exercise a habit are consistently more productive after seven hours of work than those that don’t,” writes Brent Gleeson in Inc. Gleeson says that working out provides benefits ranging form better executive function to more energy to a clearer mind.


What do you do to keep up your fitness while at work? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

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