How to: Fit in 1 hour of Activity in Your Workday

by | Feb 25, 2019 | Last updated Feb 15, 2022

How to: Fit in 1 hour of Activity in Your Workday

If you happen to be like about 80% of Americans, you have a job where you don’t move too much! (1) If you’re chained to a desk all day and can’t make it to the gym before or after work, never fear, there are still some ways Noomers can knock out 60 minutes of activity.  Now be aware, you’ll have to set all shyness aside. At first coworkers might think you are a little crazy, but after a few months, they’ll think you look crazy good! Here’s a way a typical 9 to 5er can break up 60 minutes of activity into twelve 5-minute blocks. Be sure to keep a set of dumbbells, a resistance band, a resistance loop, and a yoga mat at your desk, and wear some athletic shoes (and maybe some stretchy pants?) if you can!  You’ll need your cell phone stopwatch to keep track of your time, and also so you’re not gone from your desk too long! 

8:50 AM: Cardio – Power walk your morning away for 5 minutes. Getting to the office a few minutes early provides the perfect opportunity for a warmup.  Power walk for five minutes around the office, cafeteria, or outside your building. If you have stairs, walk up and down for 5 minutes.

8:55 AM : Lower body – Head for some morning coffee with a side of lunges and squats. While waiting for your coffee to brew, rotate between 10 squats, 10 reverse lunges, and a 10 second break in between.  Get as many rounds in as you can in 5 minutes. Pump it up: Try 10 jump squats and 10 alternating jump lunges.

10:00 AM: Glutes – Push away your office chair and pull out your mat to work your core deskside with some planks and bridges. Start by alternating between 10-30 second planks done on your elbows, with 10-30 seconds of bridges done on your back.  Take a break in between as needed. Do this for a total of 5 minutes. Pump it up: While in the plank position, lift one leg for 5 seconds, alternating with the opposite leg for 5 another 5 seconds; Rest a weight on your abdomen while lift lifting and lowering your hips during bridges.

11:00 AM: Biceps – It’s time for a bicep curl break.  Seated in your chair, grab your hand weights, or any heavier objects you have nearby and do 10 alternating bicep curls, 10 bicep curls lifting both arms simultaneously, and a 10 second rest.  Pump it up: While remaining seated, extend and straighten one leg with a flexed foot simultaneously with each bicep curl repetition.

12:10 PM: Cardio – Use lunchtime for a 20-minute workout. Hopefully you were able to eat your lunch at your desk earlier in the day! Warm up for 2 minutes power walking to the copy machine or a friend’s desk. Spend the remainder of the time alternating between 10 jumping jack and 10 high knees.

12:15 PM : Back & core – Back at your desk, head to the floor and alternate between 10 – 30 seconds of a V-sit and 30 seconds of superman’s.

12:20 PM: Full body – Grab your hand weights and head to the nearest wall for a combo move of a wall squat and front and lateral raises. To do a wall squat, put you back up against a wall and hold in a squat position with your thighs parallel to the floor. While seated in a wall squat, hold a weight in each hand and alternate raising one arm to the front followed by lifting one arm to the side.  Do this as long as you can, break for 15 seconds, then head back to the wall sit. Get as many rounds in as you can with in 5 minutes.

12:25 PM: Cardio & shoulders – Next get some more cardio in by doing a 30 second stationary football run and then drop to a plank and tap each shoulder ten times.  Repeat until 3 minutes are up. Follow with 2 minutes of your favorite stretches and head back to work.

2:00 PM: Outer thighs – Make Suzanne Summers proud and spend the afternoon working on your thighs. Stand at your desk. Put a resistance loop just above your knees. Squat low and take one step laterally to left, return to center and then take one step laterally to the right. Do this for 2 minutes, take a break, and see how many more rounds you can get in.

3:00 PM: Inner thighs – Balance yourself out with some inner thigh work. Stand behind a stationary desk chair and place both hands on the back of the chair for support. Do 20 side lunges alternating each side.  Next, for more inner thigh work, lie on the floor on one side. Place a resistance loop around both of your feet just below your calves. With legs extended straight, raise and lower the bottom leg 10-15 times. Repeat on the opposite side.

4:00 PM: Triceps – Seated at your desk chair, grab a resistance band in one hand and extend that arm overhead, then bend at the elbow bringing the hand toward your back. Take the opposite arm behind your lower back and grab the other end of a resistance band. Raise and lower the top arm to extend your tricep.  Do 10-15 reps. Alternate repeating on the opposite side.

4:55: Stretch – Finish the day with a 5-minute desk stretch.  

Remember — you should always consult your doctor first to make sure these are okay for you to try!

Author: Karen Kawolics. MS RD LD, MEd


(1) Church, T. S., Thomas, D. M., Tudor-Locke, C., Katzmarzyk, P. T., Earnest, C. P., Rodarte, R. Q., . . . Bouchard, C. (2011). Trends over 5 decades in U.S. occupation-related physical activity and their associations with obesity. PLoS ONE, 6(5), e19567. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019657