Shape Up: 5 Tips to Stay Fit at Work

Shape Up: 5 Tips to Stay Fit at Work

If you’ve ever clocked in a full 9-5 day at the office, you’re probably familiar with a few not-so-desirable symptoms that come along with it: cramping legs, sore back, tired eyes and a slumped over silhouette. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand coming home after a long day feeling like my body is in disarray. And even though I’m pretty religious about logging in my 6am gym sesh before heading into work, sometimes 30 minutes on the treadmill just isn’t enough to balance out an entire day of sitting.

With this dilemma in mind, I recently researched a few ways to combat the effects of a day spent sitting at a desk. These fit tips are easy to do, and they can become healthy habits if you put in the effort. Check them out…

  1. Walk the block.
    Whenever I start to feel antsy at my desk, I grab a few of my fellow Team LC ladies and we walk the block. Sometimes we grab coffee and sometimes we walk to pick up our lunch instead of hopping in the car. But we will also go on walks just for the sake of moving around a little. Even if you have to walk the block solo, try to take a quick outdoor stroll at least 3 times a day. And if you’re a working girl with a penchant for sky-high heels, bring a pair of flats in your bag to work so you can walk comfortably (and longer too).
  2. Stretch at your desk.
    One of the worst things you can do for your body is sitting still, according to WebMD. It’s hard on your bones, muscles and joints—yikes! So, if you have to sit at your desk, you might as well do a few simple stretches to break up the day a bit. Set an alarm on your phone to go off every hour, alerting you that it’s time to do a desk stretch. WebMD recommends standing up and sitting down with no hands to burn a few calories, shrugging your shoulders to release your neck muscles, or stretching your wrists by doing air circles (clench both fists and make circles in the air with your hands). Click here for more stretching ideas, but just make sure to try one every hour.
  3. Take the stairs.
    Swapping the elevator for the stairs is not only a health-conscience decision, it’s also better for the environment. According to, taking an elevator might require the mining of uranium or fossil fuel, which isn’t exactly a great way to minimize your carbon footprint. Save electricity and get moving by taking the stairs each day. You might be surprised to see how it tones your legs and buns too!
  4. Sit up straight.
    Here at the Team LC HQ, were huge proponents of sitting up straight. And improving your posture is actually pretty easy. I recommend that every hour, you squeeze together your shoulder blades to help pull your spine upwards. You can also try adding a back pad or a pillow to your hair to give your lower back a boost. Read more of our posture tips by clicking here!
  5. Have a ball.
    Desperate times call for desperate measures… When we’re feeling particularly slouched and slumped in the office, we take turns sitting on a big workout ball. Not having a back on your seat forces you to sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor. It also gives you a subtle abs workout, and you might even notice your stomach looking toned after sitting on a ball for a few days in a row. An article from Everyday Health says that sitting on an exercise ball keeps your blood flowing and can improve your circulation as well, so go ahead and give it a try.

Speaking of sitting up straight, have you read our posture post? If not, it’s a must read!

Do you have any tips for staying active in the office?

Leave your two cents below.

Team LC

Photo: J. Crew
Sources: WebMD,, Everyday Health
Categories: Allison Norton, Grow
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  • Katy Allaire

    These are awesome tips! I work at a hotel and always opt for the stairs over the elevator whenever I can. Plus, I live close to downtown and if I can walk to my destination, I do, no matter what!

  • Chelsea Casher

    I have a tiny office with no stairs, and 10 steps to walk inside the door. I’ll for sure be trying the posture tips. Any recommendations for stretches to do in a chair that sits about bar stool height? We have high desktops, and my legs dangle all day long, leaving them tired at the end of the day.

  • Hanny R

    As for the ball, I would be careful. Sitting on the exercise ball isn’t for everyone. If you have or had lower back injuries, I would stay away from it, as it can hurt you more. You can still use the ball for other exercise. I work in a small office, so I do a few superman with the ball, and pikes.

  • Natalie

    Who is allowed to take 3 breaks a day to go on a walk??

  • Eleanor Englund

    Well at least in WA state the law requires a 10 minute break for every four hours worked plus a 30 minute lunch if you work over 5 hours. So there are your three breaks for an 8 hour day.

  • chelsea

    I know I get two 15 minute “”coffee”” breaks, and a 45 minute lunch. Live in Ontario, Canada

  • Raven West

    Would standing be an option? I’d alternate between standing and sitting.

  • Chelsea Casher

    Good idea, thanks! :)

  • Julie Farina

    Yea, in NYC, my co-workers would definitely frown upon me taking 3 breaks a day to go on walks, but taking 3 smoking breaks a day is acceptable. So unfortunately backwards.

  • Julie Farina

    This has been one of my most used books:

    “”Yoga on the Go”” by Ursula Karven. It has a lot of simple easy stretches that you can do from waking up in to the morning to your commute to at the office to lounging around the house to bedtime. High recommend! Cute illustrations, too!

  • Julie Farina

    I recommend this book:

    Lots of stretches you can do while sitting at a desk!

  • Beauty to Sparkle

    Although I am not working, I am a college student and I spend most of the day sitting in classes or in the library filled with hours of studying. I definitely try to incorporate many of those tips into my everyday college lifestyle by always taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to my classes instead of taking the bus, and stretching when I need it :)

  • Deanne Castro

    Love these tips!

    For more on fashion and beauty, please check out my blog:

    Follow me on Twitter and Pinterest


  • hooleywithaz

    when it’s nice enough out (aka not frigid minnesota weather), i am lucky enough to be able to walk to work. i am unfortunately in meetings all day, so normally when i have a chance to be at my desk, i have to be doing work. i’ve really been working on posture lately. i’m trying to find a way to convince my company to get me a standing desk…doctor’s note maybe?

    • Guest

      You can always create your own standing desk! People in my office use boxes that contain paper reams to prop up their computers so they can stand. They also bring in stools so that if they would like to sit down, they can!

  • Nikki

    I just started sitting on an exercise ball while working at the computer. I feel like I’m able to be more productive; I feel more awake and alert so I can focus better.

  • Happy Healthy Girl

    Great Tips =)
    While at work i do two more tips:
    First: I always shrug my shoulders. Lifting them high up till my ears, holding them there for a while and then just release and dropping it. This always helps me to shrug away the stress in my neck and shoulders
    Second: I always stretch my back by giving myself a bigg hug. While hugging myself i breath in and out, giving a gap between my shoulder blades.
    And above all i always take a healthy diet so i dont feel lazy at work.

  • Konstantina Bourtzou

    Awesome tips! Such an interesting post! 😉

  • Simi @ The Micro Harvest

    I’ve got a standing desk and I love it!! It’s helped a lot with my focus, too!

  • zoe

    Here’s one. While sitting in your office chair or chair wherever you may be. Sit up straight, and suck in your tummy tight as if you are trying to touch your spine and then release and repeat as many times as possible.

  • Sara Russell

    I work a long day and always manage to get up for a quick walk/break. Leaving my desk and re-setting my mind allows me to think more clearly when I go back to my desk.

    xx sara

  • Omar Abdullah Adra

    Thr pictures of the Italian village are very interesting!!!

  • Lp

    footwear makes a big difference!



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