It is no secret that daily exercise is crucial for your overall health. Unfortunately, when you work in an office all day and with today’s busy schedules, daily exercise moves down the priority list. Sitting for long periods of time is linked with many health concerns, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol levels and obesity. You also increase your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, there are simple exercises you can do at work that require no fancy equipment, increase your heart rate and decrease your risks of many health conditions. Here are 12 effective office and desk exercises to keep you healthy.

1. Triceps Dips

Grab a chair, preferably one without wheels, and sit down. Place your feet on the ground in front of you and grab the edge of the chair. Lift yourself up and down in front of the chair with your feet planted on the ground. You may have to move your feet a little farther out as you begin moving up and down to correct the angle of your arms.

Minimum number of reps: 10

2. Desk Pushups

Move your chair out of the way and stand a few steps away from the front of your desk. Lean forward and place your hands on the edge of your desk. Lower your body down toward the edge of your desk and then lift yourself back up. You can move farther away from your desk to make this exercise more difficult.

Minimum number of reps: 10

3. Raise the Roof

March in place and move your arms up and down in a motion similar to if you were pushing the ceiling up and down. You can hold weighted objects to add more resistance.

Minimum number of reps: 20

4. Jump Squats

Move all chairs and other objects out of the way to create ample space. Place feet hip-width apart and bend down in a squat position. Jump as high as you can and reach your hands high in the air. When you land, bend your knees and end in the squat position. Be aware that this exercise will greatly increase your heart rate and make you sweaty.

Minimum number of reps: 10

5. Walk

Go outside and take a walk around the parking lot or around the block. If you have enough endurance, increase your walking speed to reap its benefits. If the weather does not permit you to walk outside, make a few laps around the inside of your office building. Just make sure you have at least 10 minutes of uninterrupted time to increase your heart rate.

Minimum time spent: 10 minutes

6. Punch

Stand with your legs hip-width apart. Slightly bend your knees and punch one arm at a time toward an imaginary punching bag. Alternate your arms and hit as hard as possible. However, be careful not to completely straighten your arm to avoid putting too much stress on your elbow.

Minimum number of reps: 20

7. Climb the Stairs

If your building has stairs, spend at least 10 minutes climbing up and down them. You can take your time and go at your own speed. This cardio exercise will make you sweaty and greatly increase your heart rate if you move quickly enough. Just make sure you spend at least 10 minutes devoted to the activity, and if you need to take a short break, march in place to prevent your heart rate from dropping.

Minimum time spent: 10 minutes

8. Wall Sit

Stand with your back pressed against an empty wall in your office. Slide your back down the wall until your knees are slightly bent and you are in a squat position, with thighs parallel to the floor. Stay in this position for 60 seconds or longer if possible. If 60 seconds is too long, hold the wall sit as long as possible and try for a few seconds longer after each repetition.

Minimum time spent: 30-60 seconds
Minimum number of reps: 3

9. Ab Vacuum

This exercise is ideal if you don’t want anyone to know you are working out in your office. While sitting in your chair, take a deep breath and tighten all of your abdominal muscles. Hold your breath and your muscles in this position for up to 10 seconds. This exercise helps tighten the core and can relieve some work stress as well.

Minimum time spent: 5-10 seconds
Minimum number of reps: 20

10. Lunges

Clear an ample amount of space in your office. Stand in the middle of the space and take one step forward with one foot, leaving the other foot in its original position. As you step, bend your knees. You want to keep your knees at a 90-degree angle and avoid extending your knee over your foot. Stand up and switch legs. You can do this exercise in place or down your office halls.

Minimum number of reps: 10 each leg

11. Mini Jump Ropes

This exercise is simply mimicking the actions of jumping rope. Jump up and down in the same area on your floor. You can jump as high or low as you desire. Move your arms in a circular fashion, just like you were moving a rope over your head. You can keep count by your number of jumps or the minutes you spend jumping.

Minimum number of jumps: 50
Minimum time spent jumping: 1 minute

12. Windmills

Stand tall with your legs shoulder-width apart and your arms straight out to the side so your body forms a large T. Using your right hand, reach down and touch your left toe. Stand up and use your left arm to touch your right toe. Make sure you spend an equal amount of time on each side of your body.

Minimum number of reps: 20 each leg

Even though you may be at work during the day, you can still increase your heart rate and keep your blood moving. Plus, a little exercise will keep your mind active and help you stay productive and efficient.

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