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9 exercise tips for desk-bound workers

I’ve built an entire company around the idea that stronger people live longer, happier, healthier lives. The science supports this, and it’s commonsense as well.

It’s easier than most people think to get stronger, fitter, and healthier. That’s especially true for desk workers, such as digital marketers and ecommerce merchants.

Here are nine tips for desk-bound personnel to get stronger and healthier.

9 exercise tips

Morning routine. A morning routine can prepare you for a productive day — and a healthy life.


My morning routine includes biking four miles roundtrip to Starbucks. The trip wakes me up and focuses my thoughts. Plus, biking is a fun, low impact sport.

But it doesn’t have to be biking. Occasionally I’ll walk in the morning as an alternative. Walking is terrific exercise — 10,000 daily steps is a common benchmark.

Regardless, a bike ride, a walk, a run: all are productive ways to start your day.

Small exercise sets. This technique is popularized by Pavel Tsatsouline, a Russian trainer. He calls it “greasing the groove.”


Do a specific exercise routine in small sets throughout the day to improve and increase your stamina.

A common “greasing the groove” exercise is pull-ups. Install a door-mounted pull-up bar. Every time you pass it, do a few pull-ups. If you’re unable to complete a pull-up, try a “negative” — jump and grab the bar with your chin above it and slowly lower yourself down. Before long, you’ll be doing pull-ups!

Push-upsAnother “greasing the groove” exercise is pushups. Do pushups every hour throughout the workday. The number should be manageable and well below your maximum. Soon you’ll be doing many more.

Work on a skill. A friend has a freakish ability to walk on his hands. Years ago, he decided this was a goal — to walk on his hands. He practiced every day until he could do it very well.

I’m working on the skill of riding a unicycle. I bike dozens of miles a week, but unicycles are difficult for me.

Setting a goal for a new physical skill has many benefits, such as providing certainty in an uncertain time.

Leave your desk hourly. Set a timer to leave your desk and move around for at least a few minutes every hour.

Uninterrupted work drives productivity. But the health benefits of moving around for at least a few minutes every hour are equally compelling. I typically set a timer. Some days I walk a bit. Other days I use a rowing machine in my garage for two minutes. That’s a manageable rowing distance that doesn’t get me too sweaty or out of breath. Afterward, I’m clear-headed and ready to work.

Walk-and-talk. Hold company meetings during a walk or even a ride.

WalkingI’m on many Zoom meetings. But not every meeting requires me to be in front of a computer. For those, I have a 2-mile loop around my neighborhood where I can walk and talk. I plug in my headphones, grab a pocket-sized notepad, and take off. Sometimes, for an added challenge, I’ll wear a weighted vest.

I’ve even conducted meetings while biking. But it’s not the best for safety and common courtesy.

Consider a garage gym. Build a garage gym (or a home gym) or just grab a kettlebell.

Garage gym iconsThis is what Fringe Sport is all about. We are believers in garage gyms. We all tend to use fitness tools more often when they are convenient. Building a complete garage gym is easier and less expensive than you might imagine. But for this article, remember that having the workout gear nearby makes it easier to use.

Get a buddy. Accountability is a motivator to meet your health goals. Consider teaming up with a family member or friend to track each other’s progress and stay on track. Put out a buddy call on your Facebook or Instagram feed.

Get a coach. A coach is like a buddy for hire. Years ago, during the first few years of my strength journey, I coached myself. Once I retained a professional trainer, I made much faster gains and improved my form. Today there are more tools than ever for coaches and clients to interact.

Do something! As we say at Fringe Sport, “We’re all fighting the couch.” Something, anything in the strength and fitness sphere, is better than nothing.

Peter Keller
Peter Keller
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