How to keep fit using an office chair

Businessman pinching temples holding his glasses
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Elnur)

You might be feeling pretty pleased with yourself if you’ve done the wise thing and invested in the best office chair you can find. Spending a decent amount on the correct quality workplace seating counts for a lot. However, even if you’ve got the best office chair in the business, sitting down for long periods of time isn't great for anyone. Therefore, it’s a great idea to have a plan to keep fit using your office chair.

Not possible? Well, it’s not going to replace a visit to the gym, but coming up with a convenient and easy to execute workout routine while you’re in your office chair can certainly help. While it might not transform your body and mind like a visit to the gym frequently does, accessories like the best under-desk treadmills certainly help improve your posture, allow you to focus more effectively and boost your overall wellbeing.

It’s important to remember that sitting down for long periods of time can reduce blood flow, especially to your legs, which is not good for arterial health. A sedentary desk job can also be bad for putting on weight and also cause depression due to the lack of stimulation. You can minimise the effects of sitting at a desk by taking regular breaks, but the following suggestions could help even more.

How to keep fit using an office chair

  • Under desk elliptical
  • Under desk bike
  • Activity tracker
  • Chair balance disk
  • Standing desk

Tools and Requirements

  • Lots of water
  • Hand towel
  • Wet wipes
  • Trainers
  • Fitness tracker

Step by step guide

1. Under desk elliptical

Buying yourself an under desk elliptical can be a great way of getting your heart rate up, while also remaining productive. These mini fitness machines have become hugely popular in recent years and there’s a good selection of models available to suit all kinds of budget.

An under desk elliptical can give you a reasonable workout too, without ending up with you feeling all hot and sweaty, which is definitely not what you want. If you like the idea of one and have plans to use it a lot then pay a little more and choose a variant that allows you to alter the levels of resistance. Some makes also come with the ability to hook them up with your fitness device via Bluetooth, allowing you to keep precise track of how beneficial your workouts have been.

2. Under desk bike

This is another variation on the at-desk workout kit you can invest in if you’re serious about keeping fit using an office chair. Again, this sits underneath your desk and allows you to pedal your way through periods of the day, burning calories and improving blood circulation in one fell swoop.

There are variations on this theme too, but the general setup means that you can have a mild to medium workout without the device being too intrusive. Depending on the model, you’ll find that it might come with a computer attached, allowing you to monitor your progress. Other models may have the ability to hook up to your fitness device, just like the elliptical machines above.

3. Activity tracker

One of the big issues with trying to keep fit using an office chair is remembering when to take regular breaks and knowing when it’s time to workout. Buying yourself an activity or fitness tracker can be a great and affordable way of improving this scenario. For starters, the humble activity tracker can assist with letting you know when to take a break.

Better still, an activity tracker can help you decide how to work out, with everything from stretching and breathing exercises as part of your plan through to checking data over a period of time and tailoring future breaks around it. Choose a quality brand, such as Fitbit and you’ll find they’re a real benefit for improving your health overall and not just when you’re at work.

4. Chair balance disk

Another great little way of trying to stay fit while you’re in your office chair is to try a chair balance disk. These can be placed on your chair and you basically sit on top of it and use your position to get a mild workout. These are aimed at improving your posture and strengthening your core, which can often be the first things that start to slump if you’ve been slouching in an office chair for any amount of time.

These things are relatively inexpensive and seemingly quite low-tech too, but the results they produce may well surprise you. However, as is the case with any exercise routine, it largely depends on how frequently you do it.

5. Standing desk

Keeping fit using an office chair is also possible by simply standing up and kicking it to one side for a while. This is where a standing desk can be really useful, with a whole host of different makes and models out there to choose from.

Having a standing desk means you can stay productive, but also keep your body active too, while many models allow you to mix and match between sitting and standing positions. Nobody wants to stand up all day, so choosing the latter type of design might be the way to go, especially if you like to kick back for a coffee break almost as much as you enjoy trying to keep fit.

Final thoughts

So, if you’re aiming to keep fit using an office chair, there are plenty of options out there in todays marketplace. Of course, simply taking a break, getting up and going outside or even heading for the water cooler can help too. However, if you’re serious about staying healthy and spend long periods of time behind your desk, it may well be worth spending some money on one, or even all of the suggestions above.

Kitting out your office? We've tested the best standing desks and the best office desks for every workflow and workspace. 

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.