The office workout

No time for the gym? Burn calories and stay toned with Time Out Dubai’s ultimate guide to keeping fit at work


When you work full-time, we know how hard it is to fit a workout into your daily routine. Unless you feel like getting up at the crack of dawn to hit the treadmill, or are prepared to sacrifice your evening for a few laboured laps around Safa Park’s running track, it can be tough to shoehorn some exercise into the day.

But don’t just resign yourself to buying bigger trousers. We’ve found a way to stay in shape while still holding down a job, and it won’t take any valuable time out of your working day. Welcome to the Time Out Office Workout: follow our golden rules and you’ll be feeling sprightlier in no time.

Don’t skip breakfast

It’s amazing the number of people who convince themselves that missing breakfast is a good way to diet. Every night while you’re asleep, you starve your body; your morning meal breaks the fast. If you skip breakfast, your body switches to starvation mode and starts desperately building up stores of fat, so whatever you eat for lunch is going to go straight to your thighs. The fittest people in the world have a hearty breakfast and a light lunch. No time for breakfast at home? Buy a box of healthy cereal or porridge and keep it on your desk so you can tuck in when you get to work.

Park your car a short walk from the office

Most people feel like driving their car through the glass wall of the lobby when they can’t find a place to park outside the office. Fit people jump for joy when they are forced to park a good 500 metres from where they work. Walking, even if it’s only short distance each day, can transform a perennial paunch into a flat pack.

Take the stairs

The lift is quicker, but jogging up the stairs is one of the most efficient cardiovascular exercises you can do. It’s also a winner for those looking to tone their legs. It won’t take long to adjust to the exercise and the results will be almost instant: more energy in the office, better circulation, finding it easier to breathe and even weight loss if you stick at it. A sprint up three storeys could shift as much as 100 calories if you go at full pelt. Lunch!

Wash the company car

Although paying to have the car washed in Dubai is as cheap as chips, it’s also the lazy way out. The great thing about washing a car is that it involves all of the things that an aerobics class does: stretching, cardio and muscle training. And if you polish your car afterwards, it has double the effect. So ask your office maintenance department if you can borrow a bucket and sponge, then head to the car park during your lunch break. A 30-minute wash can burn up to 200 calories.

Walk around the office instead of emailing

The internet is an amazing invention: you can send a letter to someone on the other side of the world in less than a second. Most people, however, spend their time emailing memos to their colleagues across the other side of the office, which defeats the purpose of having a voice. If you have something to say to a colleague, walk over to their desk and say it. The amount of effort taken to heave yourself out of your chair and stand beside them could be enough to keep your BMI out of the obese zone.

Eat a light lunch

Heading out for a business lunch? Avoid that horrid afternoon bloat by skipping bread, potatoes and other carb-heavy foods – they’ll only make you feel lethargic once you’re back at your desk. Instead, stick to salads or lighter options. And if you feel peckish during the afternoon, keep a bottle of water on hand to swig from. It’s great for staving off hunger and, as anyone in the health industry will tell you, no one is healthy until they’re hydrated.

Try some chair yoga

Stretching out at your desk could help to save your back and joints, as well as preventing repetitive strain injury. Flexing and pointing your toes, circling your ankles and tipping your head from side to side will help you loosen up, as will shrugging your shoulders and tilting your head back and forward. Spend all day at a keyboard? Take a break and circle your wrists a few times, then hold one hand out in front of you and use your other hand to gently pull your fingers back. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Got a great idea for an office workout? We want to hear! Send your suggestions to

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