5 smart and sneaky ways to exercise at your desk

Make work your workout time with these easy moves to keep you toned while you type.

One of the most overused excuses for not having time to exercise? Work.

[Read more: What happens to your body when you stop exercising?]

Whether it’s working late, a long commute or simply being too tired after a long day at the office, many of us are quick to wheel out that old excuse.

But if you’re keen to tone up but don’t seem to have the time, think about staying active while you’re at your desk.

Lucy Wyndham-Read, personal trainer for Nelsons® arnicare® Arnica Cooling Gel, has put together the following tips for building up health, fitness and overall well-being while you’re at your 9-5. Best to leave the lycra at home, mind…

Exercise 1: Pep up your posture

If you sit for long hours at a desk, your posture is probably the first thing to flag.

A quick way to transform from hunched to sitting up straight is to use Lucy’s ice cube trick: on a sticky note, write the word ice cube and stick it to the corner of your computer. Every time you glance at it, imagine someone has dropped an ice cube down your back – you’ll instantly pull back your shoulders and lift up your chest, giving you a better posture.

Exercise 2: The 20-minute rule

Try to get up from your desk every 20 minutes. Sitting down for long periods of time is thought to slow down your metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat.

[Read more: 7 anti-ageing secrets for your mind and body]

Exercise 3: Tone your thighs

Knee bends, leg lifts and thigh lifts – these workouts are perfect for the office and great for toning and sculpting your thighs. Plus, they’ll help your body burn calories without anyone knowing, while you’re sitting at your desk.

Exercise 4: Stand tall

You don’t have to stand on one leg for this exercise but do just stand up on both feet whenever you can. If you’re on a conference call, push that chair back and stand upright, which will help to engage more of your muscles.

Exercise 5: The two-minute march

Get your blood pumping with this seriously sneaky two-minute workout. Sit with good posture at your desk, with your feet hip width apart. Start marching your feet up and down (on the quiet) for two minutes.

Not only will this give the legs a quick workout, but you’ll march off a few calories at the same time!