5 Work-friendly Exercises to Keep Your Metabolism Up

The biggest struggle that comes with modern life is the fact that we sit too much. We sit for 8 hours at work, sit for the commute home, and then sit on the couch until it's time to go to bed. Of course, the best solution is to throw in an hour of exercise everyday, but is that enough? To combat a sedentary lifestyle, you need to keep your metabolism moving, and that means getting your body moving throughout the day.

Now, what you can actually do at work depends on your office. Obviously someone with a private corner suite can do more than the receptionist in a busy building. So we've kept it simple. Here are 5 exercises just about anyone can do at their desk. While these won't replace your workout, they can get you on the road to a healthier you.

1. Squats

Squats are the king of exercises. There is no single move more universally recommended by fitness professionals. It works your entire lower body, and given the size of that muscle group, that means huge calorie usage.

So push your chair under your desk and make a little room. You don't need much. Sit back on your heels, push your hips back, and bend your knees until your upper leg is parallel with the floor. Push through your heels and drive upwards through your glutes.

I know that sounds like a complicated movement, but once you master it, you can knock out bodyweight squats quickly and efficiently.

2. Triceps Dips

Now it's time to hit that upper body with some triceps dips. If you're VERY limited on space, this may not be the best option, but most people will have enough room.

Turn around and face away from your desk, but back right up to it. Place your palms on the edge and step forward an inch or so. Put your weight on your hands and walk your feet out in front of you. With your legs as close to straight as possible, slowly lower your body down. It's important to point your elbows back, not allowing them to flare outwards. Lower to about 90 degrees, then push up.

You can make this exercise harder by either raising your feet (don't use a rolling chair), or lowering the surface you put your hands on.

3. Glutes Squeezes

This one is so simple it will hardly seem like an exercises. Plus, literally anyone with a chair can do it, virtually undetected. The great thing about glutes exercises is the sheer size of the muscle. Your glutes are huge, and burn a lot of calories, so any sort of work is going to get your metabolism buzzing.

While sitting, make sure your back is straight, with your shoulders rolled back. No slouching. Squeeze both of your glutes as hard as you can. Your body will lift a little bit. Hold that squeeze for a count of five and release. Repeat until your glutes get tired.

4. 4-Second, Elevated Push-Ups

Chances are, you don't want to get down on the floor. It's dirty, and you'll get weird looks from your coworkers. That rules out normal push-ups, and doing them with your hands on a 3-foot desk isn't going to give you much resistance.

That's why the 4 second push-up should be your new best friend. Not only can it turn an elevated push-up (or a knee push-up) into a great workout, but it also gives your core some much needed activation.

Put your hands on your desk, a little wider than shoulder width. Straighten your body from shoulder to toe, and line up your shoulders directly over your hands. Lower yourself like a standard push-up, but take a full 4 seconds to reach the bottom. Explode back up.

Of course, a full push up is better, but this a great alternative for when floor space is limited.

5. Seated Flutter Kicks

Now that we've hit a little bit of core, let's blast it. For seated flutter kicks, it's very crucial that you keep good posture. Your spine should be straight, and shoulders back.

Sitting in your chair, tighten your core and raise both legs just a few inches of the ground. It's important that you're raising them from your core, not just your hips. Keeping them straight, lift one leg up a little higher, and lower the other until it is barely off the ground. Then switch them. Keep switching back and forth for about 30 seconds.


Nothing you can do at your desk will make up for a lack of a fitness regimen. It's still important to eat right and get off the couch when you're off work. However, these exercises will ensure you're making the most out of your 9 to 5. Keep the blood pumping, and your metabolism burning.