Dance Fitness

Forget the excuses, it's time to get fit. Photo: Christopher Futcher


I’m a firm believer in the power of exercise to make you more productive. On the days I make time to get out of the office and go for a run, surf or swim at lunch I’m 10 times more productive during the afternoon than had I just stayed at my desk.

I get more done, complete tasks faster and generally have a more motivated attitude. So for the first post of 2014 I thought I’d run through some great ideas for incorporating exercise into your working day. These tips are easy and they won’t cost you anything.

1. Start doing ‘secret leg toners’

Physiotherapist and CEO of Back In Motion Health Group Jason Smith says the ‘secret leg toner’ is a great way to keep your exercising under wraps at work.

“You can do a variety of exercises sitting at your desk. Lift your legs up as high as you can without hitting your desk and lower them to just before they touch the ground. Repeating this at various times throughout the day will tone and stretch your muscles,” he says.

2. Incorporate exercise into your breaks

Leanne Sklavenitis from Fitness Tips advises doing squats whenever you get up from your chair or need a break from your screen.  

“Sit away from your chair and stand up and sit down, barely sitting on your chair, and repeat 10 or 20 times. You’ll probably get in a good 100 squats a day and you can always add in a few dips to develop arm strength,” she says.

Personal trainer David Chamberlain is another advocate of building exercise into your daily work routine. “If we think about consistently moving more, it becomes far easier to make it a sustainable and effective health, wellbeing and weight-management tool,” he says.

Chamberlain suggests doing something as simple as standing up and clenching your buttocks 20 times, or taking off your shoes and standing on one leg while on the phone.

3. Find a work fitness buddy

Rhett Morris runs fatigue and energy management workshops for businesses through his enterprise, Bulletproof People. He advises finding someone in the office who has a similar fitness goal and partnering up, to make you more accountable for your fitness goals.

Says Morris: “Always pack your training gear with your lunch and write a list of possible incidental exercise opportunities in your workplace. It’s also a good idea to make yourself aware of all the health and wellbeing opportunities made available to you in your workplace by your employer.

“And if you don't know where to start, think of what you loved doing when you were a kid like soccer, dance, swimming or running. Modify the exertion level to match your current fitness levels.”

4. New ways to use an exercise ball

Using an exercise ball as a chair is nothing new – unless you find a new way of using it.

Geoff Brown, who runs Geoff Brown Personal Training, says people of intermediate strength can kneel, rather than sit, on the ball while checking emails or taking phone calls.

“Make sure you’re near a desk or something sturdy for support in case you get the wobbles. More advanced users could try kneeling without holding onto the desk and seeing how long they can hold it during a phone call. This is fantastic for your core strength and your balance,” he says.

5. Run a company-wide challenge

This approach has helped increase the fitness of outsourced design business 99designs' entire team.

“Last year we took part in the 100 push-ups challenge and had the entire office working out together three times a week just before lunchtime to see if we could reach 100 push-ups. We had a very high success rate,” says spokeswoman Emma Maidment.

“This year we are doing the seven-minute workout. We love turning the music up and breaking a sweat for seven minutes a day. It's a great way to stay productive and keep fit. Not to mention it puts a huge smile on everyone’s faces.”

Now it’s over to you – post a comment and tell us about how you keep fit during your working day.