Fitness · health · workouts

The School Day Workout- How To Fit In A Workout Almost Anywhere

the school day workout

The word is out- sitting will kill you.  This news has been all over the place recently, with media and infographics and pinterest pins expounding the negative effects of sitting.

As much as I appreciate the enthusiasm of the experts to get people up and stop the cycle of sitting, I also know that a LOT of us live in a world where that isn’t necessarily possible!  In this age of tech-filled jobs, most people have very little choice but to sit for the vast majority of the day.

I was in that exact situation in my last job, and I’m in it again this semester in school.  Two of my days, I’m at school literally, all day.  And when I get home, I’m exhausted!  The very last thing I want to do is work out.

That had me searching for alternatives, so even while I’m at school, I can get in a workout.

diddly squats

Don’t be a diddly-squatter!

I’ve compiled a list of super easy (and super discreet) moves that can be done absolutely anywhere!  These are great for school, office, or anyplace really.  No more excuses!

1. Take the long way around

This may seem like an obvious option, but if you’re like me, your classes are scattered all over the place, and parking isn’t close to anything.  It’s a natural inclination to take the fastest, and shortest, route possible.  Resist the urge (unless you’re on a time crunch of course).  Take the longer route to get to your destination.  It’s an easy way to get more steps in, and you might even avoid some of the between-class crowds!

2. Use the stairs

My campus has the weirdest set-up ever!  Whereas most college campuses are laid out with green spaces and walkways and lovely brick buildings, mine was build around the 1960s or 70s.  It was designed as a complex of buildings around a center quad area. The original idea was that it would be easy to close off in the event of campus protests.  The main level of the campus is elevated, so that it’s actually the second floor.  There are stairs EVERYWHERE, freakishly reminiscent of an Escher painting.

Even if you don’t have a wacky campus set up, we all know that there are plenty of opportunities to take stairs!  Do it!  It’s a great quad, calf, and tushy workout!

3. Calf raises

I do these when I’m standing around, waiting for a class to be released so I can go in for my class.  Seriously. And if you want to step it up, you can do single-leg calf raises.  Just discreetly tuck one foot around the ankle of  your other leg.

4. Single-leg mini-squats

From the single-leg calf raises, I just keep my foot tucked around my ankle and go into mini-squats.  It doesn’t have to be a big motion- I usually lower just a few inches (the last thing I want to do is draw attention to myself!)  And when I want to step it up- elevated single-leg mini-squats!

5. Wall sit

I have personally never tried this one (or at least not yet), but in a place where people cop a squat in the middle of the hallways, I can’t imagine a wall sit would draw much attention!  It’s a great way to pass the time while you’re waiting to get into your class! Who knows…you might start a trend.

6. Standing hamstring curl

I’ve been doing these for so long that it’s become almost an unconscious habit!  Waiting in line for the bathroom?  Standing around before class?  In line for Starbucks?  Checking out books in the library?  These can be done ANYWHERE, and trust me, you’ll start to feel it in your hammies!

7. Sitting stomach crunch

I do these while I’m sitting through class.  Especially if my mind starts wandering… So simple, and nobody will even know you’re doing anything!  Just engage your core (aka- suck in!), hold it, and release.  Repeat.

8. Backpack bicep curls

I think a lot of people forget that they’re toting around an extra 5-15 pounds (or more) with their school bag.  Make it pull double duty- Use it as a free weight!


These are just some of the things you can do throughout your day to get your fitness on.  If discretion isn’t a priority, the sky is the limit on what you can do!  Being stuck at school (or at work) is no longer an excuse to skimp on your workouts.  Maximize your crazy-busy time by taking care of yourself!

QOTD: What improvised workouts have you done in a pinch?


10 thoughts on “The School Day Workout- How To Fit In A Workout Almost Anywhere

  1. These are great. I haven’t heard of some of these. May have to to talk to our wellness team about adding these to a “Lunch and Learn” we are putting together for local businesses. I have done some when I am stuck in meetings.


  2. Hey Carrie! LOVE your post – I’m a big fan of the spontaneous mini-workout, and am currently working on keeping my face completely blank whilst Im doing the exercises – eyes creased + tongue out side of mouth whilst squatting on one leg = not cute. I know a massive weakness of mine is my triceps – urgh it makes me want to eat a packet of Oreos even THINKING about doing tricep dips – but a good little trick for that one is…

    1) Put arms up above head, super straight (sorry – this bit is GOING to look silly – just hurry up and get it over with)

    2) Interlock fingers and hook handbag / shopping bag over fingers and let the bag rest against against the back of your arms

    3) Bend arms so that elbows point upwards, elbows stay as close together as possible, hands move downwards towards head and bag moves down towards floor (you should feel the triceps burn here!)

    4) After fully bending elbows, raise hands again over your head until arms are fully extended.

    5) Repeat!

    6) When unsuspecting passers by stop and stare at you – style out the move into a yawn!


  3. awesome lifts to do anywhere! I have a job where I SIT ALL DAY! And I will get up and walk around just because I can’t sit anymore. I often do calf raises at the copier, or a set of jumping jacks in the bathroom haha!!


  4. Great tips! I have actually done some of these at previous jobs!
    I also worked at Starbucks which isn’t a sitting job but I would do bicep curls, tricep extensions, and various other exercises with the milk gallons lol! My boss and I would even do lunges and squats using them. If you have milk, make biceps. 🙂


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