Group of business people brainstorming for a project

Over the past weeks, we’ve looked at the benefits of exercise — like lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease — and how we can sneak physical activity into our everyday lives.

We’re aiming for150 minutes of physical activity per week.

First, let’s do a reality check: most of us office warriors spend eight or nine hours behind a desk, barely moving anything but our fingers. That’s one-third of our day spent sitting!

What can we do to get off our kar chngs (buttocks) and kickstart our journey to becoming more active? Here are some ideas for working out at work.

Related: The Nudge to Budge - Why You Should Step Out of that Chair

Sit Less, Move More

Colleagues working together on a project

A good start is to sit less and walk more. Switch to a standing desk: you can go low-budget by propping your computer on a sturdy box.

Take frequent walking breaks too — a five-minute break for every hour of sitting.

Walk to the water cooler to refill your mug instead of keeping a bottle at your desk; head to your colleague’s desk instead of chatting on Whatsapp.

Related: Move More, Live Longer

Work Out at Your Desk

Asian man stretching while taking a break during work

Already walking more? Take physical activity to the next level with these desk workouts. They’re discreet too, so you can avoid attention from kaypoh (nosy) colleagues.

Related: You're Movable in Your Cubicle!

Seated Crunches

Sit up straight while keeping your core engaged*, raise your right knee slightly, then lower it. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs and repeat the movement 10 times. Do three sets on each leg.

For variation, twist the opposite shoulder towards the lifted knee to work the obliques (muscles at your waist).

*How to engage your core: Place a hand below your ribcage and another on your lower belly. Cough. The muscles that activate before you cough are the same ones you should engage. Keep practising until you get the hang of it!

Related: The Importance of Building Up Your Core

Seated Stepping

Use a low footstool for this. Starting with your feet on the floor on either side of the stool, step up and down on alternate feet while seated. Do three sets of 10 steps on each foot.

Related: Step Up to Keep Fit

Seated Push-ups

Grip your arm rests with both hands and keep your feet flat on the floor. Use your arms to push your bottom off the seat — try not to push with your feet, which remain on the ground for balance, not power. Do three sets of 10.

Make sure your chair is stable and arm rests are sturdy before trying this out!

Related: Strength is Necessary


Remaining in one position for too long can lead to aches, so stretch often!

Stretch This Area:

By Doing This:


Keep your shoulders down and tilt your head side to side. Then slowly lower your chin to your chest.


Sit up straight with arms at your sides. Squeeze your shoulders up towards your ears and hold for 10 seconds, and release.

Glutes (Bottom)

Sit with one ankle over the opposite knee (keow kah position), lean forward, and hold the stretch for 5 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.

Related: The Ultimate 20-Minute Workout

Work Out With Your Co-workers

Group of asian females practicing yoga in a yoga class

Want more ways to get fit? Grab your colleagues and join one of the group workouts offered by the Fitness at Work and Sunrise in the City programmes! Choose from a number of workouts, like kickboxing, Yoga, and Zumba.

Do consult your doctor before starting any exercise regime, and practise caution when exercising. Remember, safety first!

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