Thrive for Five: Five-minute Exercises You Can Do at Work!




Introduction: Thrive for Five: Five-minute Exercises You Can Do at Work!

It may come as no surprise, but sitting all day can have more negative impacts on your health than you think! Not only is sedentary behavior linked to health issues like heart disease and diabetes, recent studies have shown it can lead to increased risk for cancer as well.

A great way to combat the negative effects of sitting is to work in a few minutes of exercise here and there throughout the day. 5 minutes at a time, max!

I’ve pulled together a few of my favorite “quick and easy” exercises for any office setting. These exercises are designed to help you get the blood flowing without getting sweaty or taking too much time away from your daily routine.

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Step 1: Exercise #1: Wall Pushups

Muscles Worked: Arms, Shoulders, Chest


Stand 1-2 feet from a wall. Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart. Place your palms on the wall in front of you. Bend at the elbows to bring your nose to the wall. Hold this position for 2-5 seconds, then push yourself back to start. Repeat 12-15 times.


  • Gets you out of the chair
  • Can do anywhere
  • Can modify difficulty by changing distance between your feet and the wall

Step 2: Exercise #3: Seated Leg Raises

Muscles Worked: Quadriceps


Fully extend one leg under your desk, keeping the other leg bent at a 90-degree angle with foot fat on the floor. Lift extended leg slightly, so your foot is hovering 1-2 inches above the floor. Next, raise the leg further so it is parallel with the floor. Lower back to start position, making sure your heel never touches the ground. Switch legs and repeat the motion. Complete 10 times on each leg.

Try lifting a purse or briefcase to increase difficulty.


  • Improves nerve function
  • Boosts coordination and balance

Step 3: Exercise #2: Calf Raises

Muscles Worked: Calves


Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, feet flat on the floor. Raise yourself up onto your tippy toes, and hold for 1-2 seconds. Lower yourself so your heels are back on the floor. Repeat 12-15 times.


  • Will give muscle definition to lower leg
  • Great body weight exercise – no equipment required
  • Can do while standing at the printer or waiting in line at lunch

Step 4: Exercise #4: Chair Swivel

Muscles Worked: Abs, Obliques


Sit straight up in your chair and extend your legs under your desk. Grip the edge of your desk with both hands. Using your ab muscles, swing your legs to the right. Return to center. Swing your legs to the left. Repeat 15 times on each side.


  • Builds core stabilization, which can help improve posture
  • Enhances waistline
  • Can do while seated at your desk while taking calls

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    4 Discussions


    4 years ago

    If you do exercise #1 in a corner, the change will exercise different muscles in your rotator cuff. The rotation of your hands so that they are thumbs down with palms against the walls shifts which muscles are used and helps keep your shoulders flexible. I use this exercise to strengthen the smaller muscles so they keep the top tendon from pulling everything up to an injury from 50 years ago (tendons do not heal, they callous).


    4 years ago

    Gee, I can do this!


    4 years ago

    and makes a fine break while working at home on your Computer too!?

    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    Great idea! There is a lot of wasted time in a work day that could be spent doing a quick exercise.