We hear it all the time – sitting down is the latest killer and worse for you than all the other habits you gave up in your early 20’s.  You might be one of the lucky workplaces that has a shower or even exercise classes – or you might be looking for at desk exercise so you can get fit from your desk without the need for even a sniff of lycra, sports bra or gym socks.

What’s below is a bit more of a ‘dramatic fidget’ than a workout, really. However, according to FitnessBlender

“A slight increase in expenditure over each waking hour easily ends up accumulating over the course of the remaining hours. All of that spontaneous physical activity; the wiggling, shifting, pacing and tapping, can add up to a relatively substantial caloric burn.

It’s entirely feasible that one could burn up to 350 extra calories per day with the extra activity. If a person had 300 calories burned fidgeting per day, that would be 109,500 extra calories burned in one year.”

We tried and tested some of the exercises we have seen recommended – skipping the ludicrous suggestions like star jumps and only picking the at desk exercises that are 100% discreet and adapting some so they had some semblance of fun. We also named them.

With 5 testers over 1 week (July 3rd – 7th) we can state that no-one noticed the subtle exercises, which is something.

Note: It helps a lot if no one is looking directly at your legs. A covered desk / sitting behind someone/ a wall is the recommended area so people don’t get a direct view of your legs prancing about. Also – we aren’t trained desk workout professionals. Don’t hurt yourself. 

1.Rocky Runs  – 1 minute

Remember when Rocky Balboa legs it up the stairs? It’s iconic – and a great workout. Of course, you could hit the stairs – but why not let your feet do the work instead? Clench thighs. Toes on the ground. And run on your tip toes. Squeeze calves.

2. Squeeeeeze – 1 minute

Squeeze your glutes for 5 seconds and then let them all go again. That’s all. Try not to bob up and down like you’re at sea.

3. Alternate lift and lowers – 1 minute

Wheel your chair back a bit keeping elbows on your desk so you can type and don’t attract attention. Hover your feet above the floor. Alternatively, straighten each lift each in front of you and lift it up towards the underside of your desk as high as you can- then lower, not touching the floor. Switch legs.

4. Scissors- 1 minute

Keeping your feet off the floor, stretch your legs wide apart (check for wandering eyes)  and keeping them straight with toes pointed, cross each leg over the other under the desk.

5. Alternate knee to chest- 1 minute

Put your legs down normally, and then one leg at a time, crunch your knee as if you were driving it towards your belly button.

6. Puffin flaps- 1 minute

Casually flop one arm off your desk towards your side, outside the chair handles, next to your hip. Keep your arm dead straight, face your palm behind you, and gently yet quickly flap/ pulse. Be subtle. Do not squawk.  Repeat with other hand.

7. Silent frog jumps- 1 minute

Wheel your chair back in. Really spread your legs like a big toad. (Or a small toad.) Jump your legs in together and back out again as fast as you can. Rest a little of your weight on your elbows on your desk if your stomach really quakes.

8. New York, New York- 1 minute

Sit normally and alternatively, lift your knee to the top of the desk, down and then extend fully. Swap legs. Try not to sing.

9. Back kicks – 1 minute

Pop your legs back down flat. lift both feet up together and kick backwards, as if you want to kick your chair.

Ta-da – 9 minutes of some sort of exercise. Repeat for the whole day and you’ll have at least moved a little, even if it is in your chair!