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6 Ways To Stay Healthy At Your Desk Job

Even if you’ve set fitness goals and are totally motivated to make a change this year, getting yourself to the gym after work is more than half the battle. It’s easy to make excuses that you are too tired and worked too hard to get in that post-work gym sesh. However, by making a few […]

Published: 1/16/17

Even if you’ve set fitness goals and are totally motivated to make a change this year, getting yourself to the gym after work is more than half the battle. It’s easy to make excuses that you are too tired and worked too hard to get in that post-work gym sesh. However, by making a few simple adjustments to your daily routine, like setting out to find a gym near work,  you’ll feel more energized and driven to totally knock those goals out of the park. These tips will help you stay fit while at your desk, and inspire you to go out and get it when the work day is over!

1. Stay Conscious of Your Posture

Even if we pay attention to our posture when we walk and exercise, after just a few minutes of sitting at a desk we start to slump. You can combat this by making sure that you are sitting up tall in your chair with your hips and knees at a 90 degree angle.

Bad posture can affect your workout by misaligning your spine and causing you to be off balance, even with proper exercise techniques. So don’t sabotage your workout by slumping at your desk! If you notice yourself slouching, fix it! This is something that is totally reversible, and fairly easy to address.

2. Watch What You Eat

You would be surprised how much snacking goes on in the workplace. You can avoid incessant snacking with a few simple changes. Number one, don’t skip breakfast! Breakfast helps to boost your metabolism after you sleep and combat those fatty-food cravings at lunch time. If you find yourself feeling rushed in the morning, keep some instant oatmeal or cereal in your desk.

Another way to avoid snacking and cut down on vending machine visits is to pack your own lunch and snacks. This simple step will keep you from grabbing a Snickers in the afternoon. For guilt-free snacking try baby carrots, nuts, or fruits.

Two bowls of blueberries

3. Drink Lots of Fluids

Everyone knows that we’re supposed to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day, but did you know that filling up your water bottle can also help you stay active? Take a break from work and walk to the refill station or water fountain to add some extra steps into your stagnant day. Every step counts when it comes to reaching your goals.

Furthermore, water helps keep you alert, hydrated and full to fight off that premature hunger at 11 am. For better results, ditch the diet soda and midday coffee for green tea, a cold-busting immunity booster.

4. Find Time to Walk and Move Around

As stated above, every step counts when you are working towards specific goals. In order to get in those extra steps, park further away in the morning and opt for the stairs. You could also grab your work buddy and take a walk during your lunch break. There is nothing quite like walking with a friend and getting some exercise in at the same time to make your lunch break even better.

Some other things to include are: taking business calls standing up, walking to your colleague’s desk instead of sending an email or making a phone call, or,  if you commute via public transportation, try getting off a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way. All of these tips are going to help you reach your goals quicker and stay healthier in general.

Three friends walking on a city sidewalk

5. Perform Desk Workouts Throughout the Day

Even if you can’t find as much time to move away from your desk, you can perform small workouts while sitting that will help strengthen and tone your muscles. Here are just a few that we love!

  1. Arm Circles:
    While sitting, hold your arms straight out to the side with your feet planted firmly on the floor and back straight. Slowly move your arms in tight circles forwards for about 25 circles, reverse and perform 25 circles backwards. This exercise helps strengthen muscles in your neck and upper back.
  2. Squats:
    If you have an office or private room you can escape to, try doing 10-20 squats every hour. Work in a cubicle? Make it a challenge. Tell all of your coworkers what you are planning on doing and get up and do squats together. Squats burn tons of calories by working all of the muscles in your legs. Not only that, but your glutes are going to love you!
  3. Seated Leg Raises:
    While seated, hold your leg out straight in front of you for 3 seconds, lift and lower without touching the floor for 20 reps, and then switch legs. You can add weight by looping your purse or backpack around your leg and then beginning the exercise. This workout will tone your legs in no time, while also strengthening your core.
  4. Stand Up!
    If work allows, order yourself a stand-up desk. Standing during work, even for part of the day, along with many other benefits, can help you lower your risk of weight gain, and have been proven to increase productivity!
  5. Sit Down!
    Okay, so maybe a stand-up desk won’t work at every company. There is a great alternative – sitting on a fitness ball (also known as swiss ball, exercise ball or bosu ball). Sitting on a fitness ball helps you work on balance by engaging your core to sit up straight. This helps to reduce lower back pain and improve posture. Not only that, but if you are in a time-crunch and unable to make it to the gym, you can perform a ton of workouts right at your desk!


6. Find a Gym Close to Work

Searching for a gym that suits you can be a lengthy process! However, if you find a gym that is closer to work, you can get in some extra gym-time at lunch. Better yet, you could finally make it to those early morning workouts before your day begins. There will be less excuses at the end of the day when the gym is just a hop skip and a jump away!

Chuze member being helped at front desk

Working at a desk can really put a damper on your health and fitness goals. By following these simple steps, you will come out of the year stronger and healthier!

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  1. “Office ergonomics: Your how-to guide.” Mayo Clinic.
    Leigh Smith, Dana. “10 Slimming Foods to Eat if You Sit All Day.” Eat This. 30 September, 2016.
  2. Collier, Jasmin. “How to stay active in the workplace.” Medical News Today. 29 March, 2018.
  3. Yetman, Daniel. “30 Office Exercises to Try Right Now.” Healthline. 4 January, 2021.
  4. “Staying fit and healthy when you sit at a desk all day.” Intermountain Healthcare. 9 September, 2019.
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