Blog > News

25 Activity Breaks to Energize Your Body and Your Brain

Posted: August 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm
Categories: News

You want to exercise more but you can’t find the time. You know you need to move throughout the day but climbing the stairs is boring. Defeat your excuses with these 25 activity breaks from Hotseat.

Hotseat creates a personalized daily roster of activity breaks based on your calendar availability. You can approximate Hotseat’s scheduling by picking a few exercises to begin with and setting an hourly reminder to get up, or making a social date to do them with a friend.


What you’re aiming for is a break every hour. That’s enough to help you counter the negative effects of sitting all day. Repeat each exercise for a total of two minutes, stopping to collect your breath when you need to.

1. Tap squats. Stand in front of your chair with your feet less than shoulder-width apart and about six inches from your chair. Start to sit. As your butt taps the chair, stand up, pressing your weight into your heels.

2. Desk pushups. Stand three feet away from your desk while facing it. Place your palms on the desk’s edge. Bending your elbows and keeping them tucked by your side, lower your chest to your desk and push back up.

3. Faux jumping rope.  Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Clench your hands as if they were grabbing an invisible jump rope. Now jump while twirling the “rope.” If jumping is too difficult, try skipping the rope.

4. Butt kicks. Jog in place, kicking your heels up to your butt.

5. Biceps curl. Grab two books off your shelf. Holding one in each hand and with your palms facing in, curl them up toward your shoulders. Lower and repeat.

6. Chair biking. Sit on the edge of your chair with your palms grasping the chair’s sides. Raise your legs, and with your legs off of the ground, “peddle.”

7. Desk curls. Stand facing your desk and place your hands on the desk. Curl one flexed foot up toward your butt while tightening your hamstring. Bring  down and repeat with the other.

8. Chair dips. Sit on the edge of your chair and grip the chair’s edge to the side of either leg. Slide your butt forward and off the chair, moving your heels forward, legs bent and feet together.  Drop your butt down toward the floor until it nearly touches and your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle. Keeping your elbows tucked in, use your arm strength to push you back up. (Blatantly obvious disclaimer: Use a castor-less chair.)

9. Step up. Stand facing the stairs. Place your right foot on the step. Pushing your weight into your heel, push your body up until your right leg is straight. Step down. Repeat with left side.

10. Knee taps. Stand with your feet together. With your elbows at your sides, raise your forearms upward 90 degrees, palms facing down. Lift one knee to tap your palm. Lower and repeat with the other knee.

11. Wall chair. Stand with your back to a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart and about two feet from the wall. Slide your body down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Check your knees. You want them just over your toes, but not beyond. Hold this pose. Return to standing.

12. Pogo stick. Stand with your feet together. Keeping your feet together, jump up and down like you’re on a pogo stick.

13. Hopscotch. Draw a hopscotch course down the hall with tape. Grab a bean bag, stress ball, or other light object and start playing. (Need a refresher?)

14. Side lunges. Stand with your feet together. Step to the right. Squat, keeping your back straight. Stand up, pushing your weight into your heels. Bring your feet back together. Repeat on the left side.

15. Jumping jacks. We trust you know the high-impact, schoolyard version. You can also try this low-impact version: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your right arm above your head while you tap your left toe to the side. Lower right arm and bring feet back together. Repeat with left side. Once you’ve achieved mastery, you’re ready to try this.

16. Plank. Get on your hands and knees. Lower your upper body to rest forearms on the ground with palms flat. Slide your legs back until they’re straight, your body is parallel to the floor (keep that butt down!) and your toes are flexed. Hold your body in this position.

17. Climb the ladder. Stand up with your feet together. Raise your right arm as if you were grasping a ladder rung above your head. At the same time, lift your left knee up. Lower both and repeat with left arm and right leg.

18. Walking lunges. Start in standing position with feet together. Take a step forward with your right foot. Keeping your back straight and core tight, lower your body until your right knee is bent at 90 degrees. Make sure your knees are not over your toes. Push back to beginning position. Repeat with left as you walk across the floor.

19. Zombie walk. Stand with your arms raised in front until they’re parallel to the floor. Kick your right leg up toward your raised right arm. Lower your right leg. Repeat with left side. Costumes and makeup are optional.

20. Laterals. Stand with a book in each hand and legs slightly apart. Bend forward slightly. Raise arms up and out to the side, elbows bent. Lower.

21. Recycled basketball. Stand 3 to 5 feet from your recycling bin. Grab papers to recycle. Crunch them up and then hurl them at the bin. Whoop when make it.

22. Knee grabs. Stand up with feet together. Hug your right knee to your chest. Lower your leg and hug your left knee to your chest. Continue to alternate knees while walking forward.

23. Sumo squat. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed out. Place your hands on your hips. With your chest high and back straight, lower your body as if to sit. Push back up to start.

24. Shoulder shrugs. Stand with a book or H2O bottle in each hand. With hands hanging by your hips, shrug your shoulders up toward your ears. Hold for 3 seconds. Lower.

25. Magic foot. Stand with your feet together. Lift one leg off the floor and use it to “draw” the alphabet without touching your foot to the floor until you reach Z. Repeat on the opposite leg.

Want more of these? Follow @gethotseatapp or the hashtag #2minbreak for our featured two-minute break. Or talk with your employer about offering Hotseat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *