Yes, You Can Exercise at Your Desk… But Should You?

Yes, You Can Exercise at Your Desk… But Should You?

Working Out Is Hard to Do

I’m a big fan of doing short bursts of exercise throughout the day. And given that most of us are sitting at desks for a big chunk of the day, “deskercise” (I promise that’s the only time I’ll use that horrible word) seems like a great idea, right?

But then there are some questions. Will I get sweaty? Are my work clothes stretchy enough to stand the strain? What if somebody sees me??

Never fear! I (with the help of the Internet) have answers, so read on.

Our Lips Are Sealed

I found a surprising number of desk workouts online that were touted as “sneaky” or “secret.” All right!! I for one, am totally on board with the idea of being able to knock out some fitness in plain view of the entire office!

Let’s just say… you’re right to be skeptical.

Like, check out this workout from SELF magazine – what’s “sneaky” about doing pushups on a pile of books while wearing workout clothes? Or doing ab crunches crosswise on your chair? I can’t help giggling when I try to imagine myself busting out these moves in the office.

This “secret” workout from hits upon the solution. Instead of suggesting that your coworkers will be oblivious while you knock out one-legged squats in your desk chair (I’m looking at you, SELF), this workout accepts the fact that you need to hide yourself if you’re going to work out at work. “Copy Room Calisthenics”? I have absolutely cranked out these moves in the copy room, and also in the kitchen while waiting for my lunch to heat up. The fear of having a coworker walk in at an awkward moment just helps keep that heart rate up!

Let’s Get Physical

I’ve also seen quite a few real-deal, legitimate workouts that could take the place of a gym session – they just happen to take place at a desk.

This workout from Greatist, for example, calls for axe chops, hamstring curls, and split squat jumps. The split squat jump is one mean mofo of a move that will definitely give you thighs of steel. I hope you are wearing extremely stretchy pants.

I have actually tried the “TPS Report Office Workout” from Tone It Up at work – let’s just say it was a VERY slow day at the office. In this case, TPS stands for “Toning, Posture & Sculpting,” and it does what it says it does. The #1 best thing about this workout is that K&K actually filmed the video in legitimate work clothes instead of standard-issue gym spandex.

And then there’s Fitness magazine, which offers a “5-Minute Desk Workout”  that actually links to “The 20-Minute Strength Workout to Burn All Over” video! Is this the exercise version of rickrolling?? Well played, Fitness. Well played.

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Get Ready to Work Work Work Work Work

The people putting together these “office-friendly workouts” undoubtedly have their hearts in the right place. Let’s face it, though – they don’t really solve the problems of 1) looking goofy in front of your coworkers, 2) getting sweaty, and 3) splitting your stylish business-casual work clothes at the seams.

I’m gonna save the desk exercise routines for the days I’m working from home in my yoga pants. Otherwise, I’ll stick with hitting the actual gym (and then the showers!) during lunch hour.

What’s your weekday workout style? Let me know your exercise challenges and solutions in the comments!

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P.S. I know. Here you go.

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (Neil Sedaka)

Our Lips Are Sealed (The Go-Gos)

Let’s Get Physical (Olivia Newton-John)

Work (Rihanna feat. Drake)


  1. Stephanie Fletcher says:

    You are a funny, witty, brainy babe! You made me really laugh today. PLUS, I jumped up and danced in the kitchen when Rick Astley sang “Never Gonna Give You Up.” That felt great after a long two weeks of recovery. It occurs to me that when you are retired, you can have fun looking goofy doing spontaneous workouts any time you want and no one is the wiser.

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