Staying active during the workday can be challenging, especially when you’re tied to a desk for hours on end. However, incorporating simple exercises into your daily routine can significantly boost your energy levels, improve your mood, and enhance your overall fitness. These 12 exercises are designed to be effective, and easy to integrate into your busy schedule.


Triceps Kick (20 reps)


 While marching in place, bend at the hips about 45 degrees. Bend your elbows, then extend them behind you as if lifting weights.

Pros: Loosens the upper body.
Cons: Can look awkward. Watch out for objects behind you.


Desk Pushups (10 reps)


 Place your hands on the edge of your desk, shoulder-width apart, with your legs extended behind you. Push off with as much force as you can.

Pros: Discreet from across the room. Challenging in a good way.
Cons: Ensure your desk is stable and doesn’t slide.


Side Lunges (10 per side)


 With hands on the edge of your desk, shoulder-width apart, and legs extended behind you, push off with force.

Pros: Doesn’t draw much attention.
Cons: Can be tough on the knees.


Jump Squats (10 reps)


 Ensure you have space in front of you. Bend into a half-squat with your arms behind you, then jump and swing your arms up as if celebrating.

Pros: Best calorie-burner among the exercises.
Cons: Tall individuals or high jumpers might hit the ceiling.


Chair Dips (10 reps)


 With legs extended in front, grab the edge of a chair (or desk) and lower yourself down and back up. You’ll end up conveniently back in your seat.

Pros: Very discreet. Excellent for triceps.
Cons: Can strain wrists. Be cautious if your chair has wheels.


Raise the Roof (20 reps)


 While marching in place, push your palms toward the ceiling with thumbs near your shoulders. Make it harder by holding water bottles.

Pros: Evokes a sense of nostalgia and comfort for some, similar to old dance routines.
Cons: Brief panic if you forgot to shave your armpits.


The Hulk (20 reps)


 Keep marching and leaning. With elbows bent and fists together in front, move your arms back like wings, trying to touch your shoulder blades together.

Pros: Fun sound effects for some.
Cons: It might be a bit awkward if someone walks in the middle of the office.


Hamstring Curl (20 reps)


 Bend your arms at the elbows. Bring one foot up toward your rear while straightening your arms so that your hands are down when your foot is up.

Pros: Not very noticeable.
Cons: Be careful not to kick anything behind you.


Punching (20 reps)


 While shifting your weight from foot to foot, punch with alternating arms. To avoid elbow strain, try not to fully extend your arm.

Pros: Relieving; a great outlet for aggression.
Cons: Most workplaces don’t allow you to actually hit anyone .


Knee Lift (20 reps)


 Similar to hamstring curls, but lift your knee up in front as your arms go down.

Pros: Activates hip flexors and quadriceps.
Cons: Requires extra coordination and concentration.


Sky Reach (20 reps)


 Sweep your arms above your head and down again while stepping side-to-side. Yelling “Hallelujah!” is optional.

Pros: Brings smiles and a flash-mob feel.
Cons: Not subtle at all.


Walking (10 min.)


 Take a lap around your block or office floor. Aim for a pace of 100 steps per minute, avoiding distractions.

Pros: Hardly noticeable. Great excuse for a Starbucks run.
Cons: Indoor laps can get monotonous; outdoor walks depend on the weather. Takes more time than desk exercises.


SOURCES: Toni Yancey, professor of health services at UCLA and author of the get-moving book ''Instant Recess''; Alice Burron, exercise physiologist and spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise; Catrine Tudor-Locke, who studies walking behavior at Pennington Biomedical Research. GRAPHIC: Sohail Al-Jamea, Bonnie Berkowitz, Kat Downs, Laura Stanton - The Washington Post. 2011.