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    30 Ways To Stay Active At A Sedentary/Desk Job

    A mix of products and tips that'll come in handy if you sit all day but want to move more.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. Start small with simple 20-minute bodyweight workouts that 1) require no equipment and 2) are easy to do anywhere you have the room.

    chart with pictures of people doing bodyweight workouts and the words "9 quick total-body workouts you can literally do anywhere"
    Photos by Lauren Zaser for BuzzFeed / Design by Chris Ritter for BuzzFeed

    NYC-based personal trainer Albert Matheny, CSCS, founder of Soho Strength Lab, designed these nine high-intensity bodyweight-only workouts that you can do anywhere. Each of these workouts focuses on one of three goals: cardiovascular fitness, power and strength, and endurance. 

    2. Build core strength with a portable balance board. It's covered in an anti-slip layer to prevent any embarrassing falls in the middle of a work call (something I would totally do), and it's covered in textured pressure points to massage your tired feet while you stand.

    Model standing on the board
    Amazon

    Promising review: "I ordered this because I am so tired of sitting while working from home and my legs were getting tired of standing at the kitchen counter. I found this as I scrolled down and it looked like it made sense...it absolutely did. It allows me to fidget and rock back and forth. I recommended it to everyone in my office since we are all working from home at this time. I will definitely get one for the office too once we transition!" —Angelita Aguilar

    Get it from Amazon for $59.99+ (available in three styles).

    3. Activate your abs, legs, and back muscles on a sitting ball. Guess who already got their workout in before work officially ended! (Spoiler alert: It's you!)

    Model sitting on the chair
    Amazon

    Promising review: "I have to sit for nine hours a day, so this is nice to change things up a bit and engage my lower back more. It requires active sitting, so your feet and back will be moving around. Between this, a kneeling chair, and standing up at my desk, I can make it to the end of the day without back pain." —D

    Get it from Amazon for $49.99+ (available in two sizes and eight colors).

    4. Hop on your under-desk bike so you can spin while building spreadsheets, answering emails, and even taking conference calls. It offers different resistance levels and is a great way to get in a workout during your regular 9-to-5.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    It works with desks as low as 27 inches. If you're tall or you have long legs, you can still use it while working from the couch.

    Promising review: "Really perfect for me. I have averaged about 50 miles per day and have lost four pounds in one week. Really well built and totally silent. I'm 5'8" and I do have to sit in a low chair but it works well and I do computer work and talk on the phone while burning about 1,000 calories a day! You can't beat that. I was looking at more expensive solutions but I won't look anymore. Completely satisfied." —Phil

    Get it from Amazon for $189.

    5. Multitask with a height-adjustable desk bike. Now you can write reports and set PRs at the same time. It comes with a removable desktop tray and doubles as a standing desk if you need to stretch your legs.

    reviewer riding the white bike while typing on a laptop
    amazon.com

    Promising review: "As a health provider I was beginning to really struggle with work/life balance. I am a new provider and I only had time to exercise in the morning, but then that time was taken up by catching up with my medical charts. One night while feeling especially disheartened I thought about exercise desks, but thought they would be cost prohibitive. I was ecstatic when I found this. The product was very reasonably priced. (While Amazon will try to tell you to buy professional setup, it is very not necessary. My husband was able to set up the product in less than five minutes.) It is easy to move and isn’t overly bulky. The desk is easily adjustable for a perfect fit. Now I can work and exercise at the same time. This is the best self-purchase I have made for myself. Wonderful product. So pleased." —Jocelyn G.

    Get it from Amazon for $349.99 (also available without the table so you can use it with your existing desk).

    6. Exercise your core and back muscles with a posture corrector that'll buzz every time you slouch. It attaches directly to your back and is discreet enough that no one will know you're wearing it.

    model wearing the white posture corrector directly on their back while sitting up straight and typing on a computer
    Amazon

    Promising review: "This is easy to use and adjust to different activities. It really exercised muscles that I didn't know were weak. My partner can already see a difference. I am starting to correct my posture before it alerts. Great training to tool to avoid stooped over posture. It was a gift that I've liked a lot." —Ken Harris

    Get it from Amazon for $79.97.

    7. Or go the more low-tech route with a back brace you can wear over or under your clothes. It also helps train your muscles to sit up straight, which can have the added benefit of helping ease back, neck, and shoulder pain.

    before and after showing the back brace helped straighten a reviewers back to prevent slouching
    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I have a full-time job sitting at a desk. You know what they say...when you sit at a computer all day your posture worsens. While my posture isn't horrible, it isn't great either. I wanted to be proactive and improve my posture before it got any worse. I bought this product not knowing whether or not it would really work. Took me just a minute to find out how much it really helps! It truly is a miracle. It is like your back is forced to be sitting in good posture. Now I wear this whenever I sit at the desk, which gets my back in the habit of maintaining proper posture. Thank you for this product!" —Justin

    Get it from Amazon for $16.99.

    8. Switch to a spacious height-adjustable desk because slumping over a desk for eight hours is not doing your body any favors. Standing all day isn't great for you either, so alternate between sitting and being on your feet to keep your body active.

    Knoll

    I love this desk. Until quite recently, I'd been working either on the couch (which hurt my back, neck, and wrists), in my bed (which made me want to nap every five minutes), or at a tiny kitchen table (which was only large enough for my laptop). Now that I have this bad boy, I have room for my work laptop, a 27-inch monitor, and my ginormous 17-inch laptop, plus space for snacks, my water bottle, random chargers, and my office supplies. On top of that, I can easily adjust its height if I'm ever tired of sitting and need a new view. I cannot stress how much this desk has increased my productivity and made working from home...actually...enjoyable.

    Get it from Knoll for $695 (available in two styles, four top finishes, and two base finishes).

    9. Add an anti-fatigue mat to your standing desk setup so it feels like you're walking on clouds all day. Reviewers say it's also a great option for workouts if you find yoga mats too thin or want to dampen the noise of your workouts (especially if you're jumping) for your downstairs neighbors.

    Model standing barefoot on the mat
    Amazon

    Promising review: "This mat is amazing! I teach college English to high school seniors so I spend many evenings and weekends grading research papers. I bought the mat to go with a standing desk I ordered. Now, instead of sitting on my butt while grading, I can stand up comfortably and burn more calories! Each paper takes me nearly 90 minutes to grade, and I can stand the entire time without getting sore feet/legs thanks to the cushy wonderfulness of this product! In fact, I often dance in place to get more exercise, get my blood pumping, and wake myself up (especially if the papers are not so great). Of course, I always do a happy dance to celebrate the completion of another project. This mat makes happy dancing possible." —Sherri P

    Get it from Amazon for $37.37+ (available in three sizes and 10 colors).

    10. Find a workout subscription — I swear by Obé Fitness — that fits into your schedule. Exercising routinely has a whole host of benefits and you may feel better after a quick 15-minute full-body burnout than you usually do spending your lunch break scrolling through TikTok.

    Abby Kass / BuzzFeed, @obe_fitness / Via instagram.com

    At this point, I've taken more than 200 Obé classes in the last year and a bit, and cannot say enough good things about it. You can take live classes, which has the same vibe and energy of an IRL workout class, or peruse Obé's library of thousands of workout videos if you don't like the live class. There's something for everyone: yoga, JIIT, weights, Pilates, dance, boxing, barre, meditation, stretching, and more! Classes range from 5 to 60 minutes so you can find a workout that fits with your free time. All in all, Obé has helped me enjoy exercising again, and the daily movement has done wonders for my mental health during such a weird time.

    Try a free 30-day subscription or sign up now for $27/month, $65/quarter, or $199/year.

    11. Create a designated space where you work out. It could be your basement, garage, a spare bedroom, your back porch, a corner of your bedroom, wherever!

    illustration of a person lifting a weight in a home with equipment around them
    Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

    12. And if you don't have a lot of extra room, find a space where you can stand on your yoga mat with your arms outstretched and you don't hit anything.

    Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

    13. Stretch when there's downtime! Not sure where to start? This handy stretches chart is a good jumping off point. We've also rounded up some easy stretches for people who sit all day (although anyone can do these!) that'll help make your stiff muscles sigh with relief.

    A chart divided into muscle groups with diagrams of people doing exercises
    Amazon

    Get it from Amazon for $7.95.

    14. Buy workout equipment, like resistance bands, that you can use at your desk. There are tons of seated exercises you can do while listening to the monthly company all hands meeting or during your five-minute Pomodoro Technique break.

    amazon.com

    These ones are made of fabric, so they won't roll or snap while you're using them!

    Promising review: "I LOVE these resistance bands. They work great for a variety of different movements, and they never slip against my skin or my leggings. They are sturdy material with the perfect amount of stretch. I have been using them for my home workouts, and I love it!" —Amazon Customer

    Get a set of three from Amazon for $11.89 (available in four color combinations).

    15. Or opt for resistance bands with handles, which are longer and offer a whole new set of seated, standing, and lying down (my fave!) exercises to try.

    person on a yoga mat demonstrating movements with a green resistance band with handles
    thelivefitgirls.com

    Use them as a standalone workout or add them to your existing workout to up the difficulty. And learn more about each move from The Live Fit Girls.

    16. Spice up your routine with a deck of workout cards. Did you give up on desk pushups because they were boring as heck day after day? Same! This informative card deck demonstrates bodyweight movements movements that will keep your exercises fun and varied, so you look forward to your afternoon workout instead of skipping it to watch another episode of Friends at your desk.

    the deck of cards
    Amazon

    Each deck contains 50 cards divided into four sections of exercises — total body, upper body, core, and lower body. The makers recommend you choose two from each section and perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps for the best workout.

    Promising review: "Like many of us I know I should warm up and stretch before and exercise and cool down and stretch after exercise. Also like many of us I don't tend to have a good exercise routine or even the best knowledge of what or how to do it or even the creativity to be able to mix things up. These cards have helped with that. Each card features a picture of an exercise, a description of how to properly perform it, recommended number of reps, rating for level of difficulty, some key points on proper form for the exercise, and how to modify it for more impact." —Lance

    Get them from Amazon for $19.97 (available in three styles).

    17. Turn off your computer and turn on Fitness Boxing for Nintendo Switch when you need a midday sweat session. If you've been intrigued by boxing but didn't want to show your moves in a class with other people, an at-home workout is the way to go.

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    BuzzFeed editor Heather Braga loves this game. In her own words:

    "I admittedly am someone who thrives while working out at the gym, but there are many exercises I've been dying to try and don't because I don't want to embarrass myself. Boxing is one of them. Luckily, I can start practicing my skills (and break a decent sweat!) at home while playing this super-fun game on the Nintendo Switch. I use this game as a way to mix up my exercises/when I don't feel like venturing out to the gym. I have to say, it's a SERIOUS workout. I'm usually sore for days after and have burnt up to 300 calories in 30 minutes! If you get tired of the provided songs, mute your TV and turn on your favorite workout playlist — a great hack, if you ask me! The newest version of this game will combine your stats with the original, so no worries if you've already been playing Fitness Boxing for years!"

    Get the digital code from Amazon for $49.99.

    18. Invest in an Apple Watch SE so you can track health and fitness stats like heart rate, sleep quality, steps, and more. It can even alert you when you've been sitting for too long — a helpful feature if you spend eight hours or more glued to your desk.

    reviewer wearing the watch with a message on the screen that says tap to start new workout
    amazon.com

    Promising review: "Have an iPhone? You need an Apple Watch SE. It's so worth it. It will remind you to stand. It will tell you to breathe when you are stressed out. It will help you make your exercise goal. It will make you walk 10,000 steps every day. It will tell you how your sleep quality is. Do not make the mistake in labeling these as useless things, as they will compound to make major changes in your life. So while yes, this thing can make phone calls, send emails, read texts, etc., the main value comes from the surplus of health features and activity monitors it provides. It's very useful for people who always seem to miss phone calls or texts, but it is not meant to be used your new main device for sending emails or texts. It's not supposed to replace your phone for calling. This watch is at its best when it comes to fitness and activity. Even if you are not active, this is one of the few devices you can ever purchase that could potentially cause you to make major beneficial life changes." —Bob

    Get it from Amazon for $249+ (available in two sizes, two styles, and six colors).

    19. Pair your new Apple Watch with Apple Fitness+ to gain access to scores of workout videos for all fitness levels. If you want to maximize your lunch break workout, but aren't sure what to do, these trainers can walk you through yoga, HIIT, strength, dance, core, and more. (There are even classes that involve equipment — like cycling, treadmill, and rowing — if you have access to them.)

    The workout streaming on a phone
    Apple

    Stream your workout right from your watch or cast it to your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. Your stats will appear on the screen as you exercise. Workouts will never feel stale since there are new videos added each week. And you'll get personalized recommendations for new trainers and workouts based on the classes you've previously taken. 

    Get it from Apple for $9.99/month or $79.99/year (after a one-month free trial; if you buy a new Apple Watch Series 3 or later, you can get a free three-month subscription). 

    20. Break a sweat with a speed jump rope if you finish lunch in 15 minutes and don't know what to do with yourself for the next 45. Set up outside or on a mat and challenge yourself to jump rope without stopping for 30 seconds or a minute. You'll be surprised at how early your calf muscles are asking for a break.

    Amazon, amazon.com

    These steel cable ropes need to be used on a smooth surface or the coating may be affected.

    Promising review: "Delivery was very quick. This rope is amazing. If you follow the directions properly for sizing you will be mastering double-unders in no time. Seriously, after I sized the rope properly for my height I was able to string together about 20 unbroken double-unders within 10 minutes of practicing." —BRS

    Get it from Amazon for $13.64 (available in nine colors).

    21. Engage your core, arms, legs, butt, and neck (so basically your entire body) with a Pilates ring you can use at your desk without any other equipment. It comes with a handy chart of exercises that'll really make your muscles feel like they're working with a few basic movements.

    Three models each squeeze a black Pilates ring while attending a class
    Amazon

    Promising review: "I am a great fan of the Pilates magic circle. I purchased this one to keep at the office. I like it because I can quickly do exercises by putting it between my ankles, above the knees, or in my hands. I can do a few quick exercises throughout the day to energize myself. This circle is sturdy, but not overly difficult to press. The cushioned pads feel nice on the palms and above the ankles where skin is sensitive." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $24.95+ (available in five colors).

    22. Swap from your desk chair to your portable rowing machine if you miss gym equipment but don't have the time, energy, or inclination to schlep yourself there after work. It won't take up much room in your home gym — aka the garage — and can be easily stored when it's not in use. Set your messenger status to away, hop on your erg, and row away. Close your eyes and you'll almost feel the wind and salt water on your face? Oh wait, that's just sweat.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    Promising review: "This is very lightweight and portable. It fits nicely on a runner rug next to my bed and doesn't move around when I use it. The settings are easy to adjust, and it is quiet. I use it in the morning while I catch up on the news. I was reluctant to get a piece of exercise equipment but am very glad that I did!" —Caren S.

    Get it from Amazon for $99.97.

    23. Get your steps in with an adjustable stepping machine. It's super compact and comes with resistance bands for added difficulty. After sitting all day, it'll feel good to stretch your legs on this. Or you can use it in conjunction with your standing desk because sometimes you just don't have the freedom to pause work.

    Reviewer steps on mini black stepping machine with white, gray, and pink sneakers
    amazon.com

    Promising review: "Ever since I have started working from home I have had a lot of trouble getting a good number of steps in a day. COVID obviously made this even more challenging. This little device is super handy for adding steps in periodically (which it accurately counts!) or hopping on for a full-length workout. It is also lightweight and portable so I can just grab it to get steps in on the balcony for the view or plop it down in front of the TV if I want to get a workout in while watching something." —A. Kubicek

    Get it from Amazon for $49.99.

    24. Stand atop a ball balance trainer to literally and figuratively balance yourself *and* your desire to stay active with your need to get work done. It's a versatile piece of workout equipment that'll fire up your core while you type and is also useful for jumping, kneeling, and laying exercises.

    Reviewer stands on black balance ball trainer placed on tan carpet
    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I absolutely love this Bosu type of stability ball. Less expensive and is perfect for me. I use it for working out at home as well as standing on it during my work day. I have stood on it most days since I bought it upside down and move around all day. It is very sturdy and it’s durability is great. It doesn’t even look like I’ve used it." —Mads

    Get it from Amazon for $48.43+ (available in five colors).

    25. Intensify your desk workouts with a pair of Bala Bangles (you might've seen them on Shark Tank!) that add resistance to your leg lifts.

    model wearing the pale pink bands
    Amazon

    Promising review: "I’m very happy with this purchase! Easy to wear and adjustable. I wear them while cleaning my home, practicing yoga, and working out. This may be my favorite purchase ever! I plan to buy a second pair for my ankles. I highly recommend it!" —Jmed

    Get them from Amazon for $49 (available in a variety of colors).

    26. Or use dumbbells for a more traditional (and deceptively hard) desk workout. You've mastered bicep curls with your water bottle, but a set of 3-pound dumbbells is a whole other story.

    a set of two, three, and five-pound weights sitting on a black stand
    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I've recently started working out at home since I can't do much walking outdoors here in Wisconsin during the winter. Rather than getting a gym membership, I decided to invest in some workout equipment. These dumbbells are great for working out at home; either just to do some reps or use with videos. The outside is made of neoprene so they are soft to grip and easy to hold. Personally, I'm not a fan of the cast iron dumbbells, and I love the feel of these. I've owned these weights for only a couple of weeks, and I'm very happy with them! I've used them a number of times, and they work great. I feel the price is good for the quality, and I will look at ordering others in the future as I get stronger! If you are looking for some hand weights, I recommend buying these!" —Kristin B.

    Get this set from Amazon for $34.61 (also available in a set with 3-, 5-, and 8-pound weights).

    27. Spread out your yoga mat next to your desk or in an empty conference room so you can stretch and sweat your way through some sun salutations. If you're working from an office, lock the door to your conference room so Tim doesn't accidentally walk in on you halfway through a chaturanga.

    Genevieve Scarano / BuzzFeed

    BuzzFeed editor Genevieve Scarano loves this one from Gaiam. She says: "This Gaiam mat will give you a lil' cushioning while you do barre movements or work on your core. You don't want to be sliding around or hurt your bod while exercising indoors."

    Get it from Amazon for $21.98 (available in 22 patterns).

    28. Build stretch breaks into your workday with a timer. Have you ever looked at the clock and realized you just sat for three hours straight? Don't let that happen! Set your timer for an hour and dive into your work. When it dings, get up, go to the bathroom, touch your toes, get a snack, say hi to your kids, pet your cat, or check in on your partner in the next room. Whatever you do, it shouldn't be work.

    Amazon

    Promising review (for the kitty timer): "My kids loving use this to time all their responsibilities, i.e., brushing teeth, cleaning up, and getting dressed quickly." —Mom of two boys

    Get them from Amazon: the kitty timer for $7.88 and the strawberry timer for $10.99 (also available in other foods).

    29. Try the Pomodoro Technique! This is my favorite time management method and goes like this: Work for 25 minutes and then break for 5 minutes. After four 30-minute cycles, take a 20- to 30-minute break. For me, the five minutes is just enough time to go to the bathroom, refill my water bottle, or reheat my coffee, and the longer break is enough time to read an interesting article or go for a walk around the neighborhood. I then feel less distracted when it's time to get back to work.

    View this video on YouTube

    youtube.com

    30. Hold yourself accountable with a habit tracker that'll serve as a helpful reminder to get out of your chair. Start with baby steps, like forcing yourself to stretch during your lunch break.

    Reviewer photo of the habit tracker filled out
    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I ordered this toward the beginning of the pandemic because I wanted to hold myself accountable for even the smallest things. It's actually become a really useful tool for both mental health and self-care. I started with really basic things I wanted to become better at, like flossing and skincare, and then every month I would take it a step further. And I also try not to be too hard on myself if I miss a box; instead I just focus on the next day. I'll definitely be using this long term and I'm kind of looking forward to looking back through it at the end of the year and seeing how far I've come. Already my skin looks great and I can finally confidently go to my next cleaning like 'yeah I DO floss.' :)" —Annelise Denton

    Get it from Amazon for $18.

    Me congratulating you for making an effort:

    Lonely Island Classics

    The reviews for this post have been edited for length and clarity. 

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