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How Much Exercise Should You Do Per Day If You Have A Desk Job?

Published by Kieran
Last Updated on September 10, 2021

What Amount Of Exercise Should I Do With a Desk Job? - Our Guide To Staying Healthy

Many of us nowadays find ourselves behind a desk from 9-5 at least 5 days a week, meaning our activity levels drop during the day as we are forced to remain seated to work.

Compared to people who have a job that involves more physical activity, it can be hard to work out how much exercise you need to be doing per day if you remain seated for most days per week. 

If you do have a desk job, then it is recommended to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity in per day if you are sitting for around 6 hours, but if you are seated for more than 6 you should try and increase this physical activity to 1 hour per day.

To find out the recommended amount of exercise you should be doing according to your goals, types of workouts you can do even during the office and some tips for getting minutes of exercise in throughout the day, we have composed a guide below that will tell you everything you need to know. 

How Much Exercise Should I Do For Weight Loss?

The amount of exercise you need to be doing changes according to your fitness levels and goals, if you would like to lose weight for example and you have a desk job, you might want to reduce your calories to around 10 per pound of bodyweight and aim for one hour of exercise per day, this could be through walking in different chunks of time throughout the day. 

Current guidelines to maintain good heart health and stay fit is around 150-300 minutes of physical activity per week for an adult, this amount of exercise per week is reduced if the workouts you are doing are high-intensity exercise. 

You don't technically need to ramp up your exercise if you would like to lose weight, but you simply need to reduce your calorie intake instead so as your body can use your fat as fuel, strength training, however, is a good idea if you want to keep muscle during weight loss.

How Much Exercise Should I Do To Build Muscle?

For people who want to build a little muscle, you might be wondering if the amount of exercise you need to do changes? 

Well, no matter what, everyone should be meeting a moderate exercise goal of 30 minutes per day through walking or other movements, but in addition to this, you might want to add in strength workouts 4 times a week and cut back on the cardio workouts to once a week.

Do I Need More Activity Per Week If I Have a Desk Job?

As we mentioned above, if you have a sedentary job then you will need to make an effort to get your daily exercise goals in each day to lose or maintain weight and stay healthy. 

We have listed the different amounts of exercise you should be doing during the days per week according to your activity level.

  • Sedentary Woman (Desk Job) - If you have a desk job you need to be doing at least 30 minutes of daily walking per day, without this you should control your calorie intake instead to match your energy expenditure, stick with 13 calories per pound of bodyweight to maintain your weight in this case.
  • Moderately Active Woman - To be classed moderately active and get maximum health benefits you should aim for 30-45 minutes per day walking, this could be during a lunch break or split up over the day.
  • Active Woman - If you have a desk job you can still maintain your healthy body weight and meet your goal by doing one hour of walking every day per week, this should be brisk walking and can be split into two 30 minute walks.

Exercise To Do Everyday If You Have a Desk Job

Although you can't just leave the desk to do exercise whenever you want, it is possible to implement a few crafty exercise moves throughout the day according to where you are to remain active without having to do formal workouts. 

We have listed a few exercises to try out at your desk below. 

  • Incline push-ups - Doing 30 seconds of incline push-ups on your desk or a hard chair is a great way to keep your muscles active throughout the day, make it a rule for every time you get up from the chair.
  • Chair squats - Performing a standard squat is moderate exercise and can be done over a chair to improve your form.
  • Calve raises - Whether you do this type of exercise seated or standing, it is a great way to get small strength workouts in your legs.
  • Stretching - Doing stretches throughout the days per week at work is important to maintain your flexibility and keep your blood moving without having to do a vigorous activity.
  • Walking - Walking is so underestimated as an aerobic exercise and can help you meet the exercise guidelines you need each day to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight. 

Tips For Meeting Daily Exercise Goals For Sedentary Jobs

It all well knowing the amount of strength training and exercise you should be doing each day but having a desk job does limit the time you get during the day to this exercise.

So to meet the 30 minute or one-hour goal of exercise you have set yourself per week, we have listed our top tips below for keeping you in shape. 

  • Get up every hour - While you are at the desk set a timer to get up for 10 minutes each hour, these 10-minute walks can help you reach your exercise goal for the day and stop you from staying seated the whole day.
  • Keep it simple - Trying to implement some crazy workout routine before or after work will be hard to implement long term, instead, you should keep to simple exercises such as walking or running instead which are more manageable.
  • Try standing up - If you hate staying seated all day why not try a standing desk, these keep you on your feet and active all day and have even been said to improve productivity!
  • Meet while moving - Why not try taking your meetings or phone calls outside rather than being seated in the office, this is an excellent way to get some steps in throughout the day.

FAQs About How Much Exercise You Should Do Per Day

Do I need rest days when exercising? 

When strength training and doing high-intensity interval training you should take a rest day or two to allow major muscles to recover, over-exercising is not a good idea and will lead to burnout.

How much exercise should a kid do per day? 

Just like adults children should aim for 30 minutes to an hour of exercise each day to remain healthy.

What time is it best to exercise? 

To maintain your weekly goal of exercise you might be wondering when it is best to do it, well, most experts argue working out in the morning is best as it helps the exercise habit stick and there is less excuse for not working out than there are at the end of your day.

Is weight training better for weight loss? 

Resistance training in combination with cardio is argued to help with weight loss around three times per week as it burns fat while maintaining muscle at the same time.

How to avoid gaining weight from a desk job? 

Health risks are there from remaining seated all day at your desk, the best ways to prevent weight gain are by packing your lunch beforehand, settings timers to get up from your desk and having healthy snacks on hand when needed, fail to prepare, prepare to fail!

Final Words

To conclude, every healthy adult should aim to do 150 minutes to 300 minutes of moderate exercise per week according to guidelines, this could count as going on a 30 minute to one hour walk each day during your lunch break or after work. 

For people who have desk jobs, try our tips above to remain active throughout the day and focus on small simple exercises you can be doing such as walking on your lunch break to remain fit.

About the author
Published by Kieran
A star athlete during his school days, Kieran quickly excelled at sports and in particular; football. Kieran's true passion lies in home exercise equipment, and so was was built as a source for all of Kieran's thoughts to be put down on a medium. Here he guides you through various nuances of working out at home, tips, guides, reviews and more.The only other thing Kieran enjoys more than working out, is writing about it.
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