We stand in queues for food, to register for events or even at the bank. At work, sometimes we have to stand for hours in instances when we are the chaperon for an event or manning a reception counter.

The next time you’re on your feet for more than a few minutes, try doing fun, strength-training activities that can improve muscle strength and also help you to keep fit.

Related: 4 Simple Exercises to Strengthen Your Core Muscles

Try These Simple, Basic Exercises While Standing in Line

Stretching is a simple, basic exercise you can do while standing

 If you're running on a busy schedule day in-day out, here are some ways you can try these simple exercises as you get through your day-to-day activities.

  1. Standing on tip-toes (standing calf raises/toe stand exercise) — Standing tall with your legs straight and abdominal muscles engaged, raise your heels as high as you can go while balancing on your toes. If you’re doing this right, you should start to feel a stretch in your calf muscles. Make good use of your time standing and shape your calves in the meantime!

  2. Buttock pinches — As an extension to standing calf raises, you can further tone your butt by adding on this little exercise. While you’re standing on tip-toes, start to clench your butt. Hold it for five seconds, then relax and lower yourself back down.

  3. Abdominal flexes — A simple exercise that can help to strengthen your core is to simply flex your core muscles while you stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Simply brace yourself as if you were preparing to get punched in the stomach.

  4. Stretching — Another simple activity you can do while standing in line is stretching. There are numerous benefits of stretching including increased flexibility, injury prevention as well as stress relief. Here are some stretching exercises:

    • Hamstring stretches — putting your right foot forward and pointing your toes towards the sky, reach for your ankles while bending your left knee slowly until you feel a stretch on your right hamstring. Repeat with the other leg.

    • Quad stretches — standing on your left leg, bend your right knee and hold on to your right foot to bring your foot towards your butt until you feel a stretch in your right quads. Repeat with the other leg.

    • Shoulder rolls — stand straight with your feet flat on the ground. Keeping your back straight and your chin tucked in, roll your shoulders backwards in a circular motion. Repeat 10 times then change direction.

Related: 5 Exercises to Prevent Chronic Illnesses

Try These Advanced Standing Exercises at Work

The warrior pose is one of the standing exercises you can do at work

If you want to get your heart rate up while you’re standing at work, try out these moves! They are also wonderful desk exercises for those of us who spend a great deal of time sitting at work.

  1. Running Man — One of the basic moves of shuffling, you won’t need a lot of space since you are essentially running without moving. This relatively easy exercise is a great aerobic activity that will give you a good cardio workout. To do this, simulate a running action, while continually shuffling the foot that’s on the ground backwards. There are plenty of tutorial videos[1] on how to do the “running man” that you can check out online.

  2. Standing vertical jumps — Standing in one spot, visualise that you’re a basketball player and jump as high as you can. This exercise that uses your own body weight will help to strengthen your leg and core muscles.

  3. Lateral raises — Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about the upper body. Using water bottles or books as weights, lift both your arms up until they are fully outstretched and parallel with the ground. Try not to bend your elbows. If you only have one bottle or book, you can also do this one arm at a time. Make sure to hold on to something to stabilise yourself when doing single-arm lateral raises.

  4. Yoga Positions — Practice standing yoga positions such as the Tree Pose. With your left foot on the ground, bend your right knee and slowly raise it up until your right foot is pressing against your left inner thigh. With your arms on your hips, stabilise your posture before lifting your arms towards the sky, shoulder-width apart. Hold the position for 30 seconds to a minute then repeat with the other leg. Benefits of this pose include strengthened thighs and calves as well as an improved sense of balance. Here’s a more detailed step-by-step guide[2] to performing the Tree Pose.

  5. Squat challenge — Challenge your friend to remain in a squat position to see who can hold the position longer. Squats not only strengthen your leg muscles but also work out your core muscles for better overall mobility and balance.

There you have it. Armed with these standing exercises, you'll be able to transform dull standing moments at work or in queues into keep fit opportunities.

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  1. Heldens, O. [AXEL - OH]. (2016, Jun 24). SHUFFLE #7 TUTORIAL RUNNING MAN & LATERAL MOVES SHUFFLE | AXEL - OH [Video file].
    Retrieved September 2016 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHIDmBtykhM

  2. Nelson, J. (n.d.). Tree Pose [Website].
    Retrieved September 2016 from https://www.yogajournal.com/pose/tree-pose/