Skip To Content

    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. Some may have been sent as samples, but all opinions and reviews are our own. 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"

    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

    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

    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.

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    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

    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.

    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

    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.

    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

    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.

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    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

    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.

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    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.

    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

    Me congratulating you for making an effort: