1. Use a resistance band from The 20 Best Lunch Break Exercises to Get You through the Holidays

The 20 Best Lunch Break Exercises to Get You through the Holidays

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1. Use a resistance band

This is one of the most inexpensive ways to build muscle (important for your metabolism). A resistance band, a.k.a. a tube, helps reduce the risk of injury and increases strength while also improving your range of motion. Triple win!

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2. Isometric training

If you get tired of the same old strength exercises, try this (and you’re not even going to break a sweat). Hold a single position for 30 seconds. This is a great way to “educate” your body how to stay and the right position when you’re exercising.

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3. Lunges

You can do static lunges next to your desk. Whatever kind, don’t skip them. They are a quintessential exercise, perfect for toning your legs and derriere. Keep your upper body straight during the entire exercise. Step forward but make sure both of your knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to your original position.

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4. Wall sits

This is a perfect static exercise to strengthen the quadriceps muscles. As always, sit against the wall for as long as you can. Do several sets of 30 seconds or a minute.

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5. Planks

The only people who may get sincerely very excited about planks are trainers. They swear by them. BUT – nothing works your abs like this very basic isometric exercise. They actually help strengthen your entire body—from your core to you lower back and shoulders. Do several of them, each lasting for about a minute.

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6. Deadlift with press

Your feet should be hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell with your hands and push your hips back until the weight is just below your knees. Push your hips forward and pull the weight to your chest. Slowly reverse the movement to return to start. This exercise engages your entire body which is why many fitness instructors always recommend it.

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7. Push-ups

This one is pretty straight forward but essential. If you’re looking to improve your upper body strength, or in some of these cases, the strength in your entire body, than a push-up is a great choice. Keep your body straight at all times when you bend your arms and lower yourself. If you can go low so your chest touches the ground, do it. But don’t even try if you are having trouble.

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8. Split squats

This exercise is very similar to the old-fashioned body-weight squats you are aware of, except you’ll spend the 30-second rest periods holding the bottom position of the squat. It’s not as easy as it sounds. If you want, do it with dumbbells or other weights above your shoulder height, with elbows bent and palms facing you. Do at least three sets of as many as you can in one set.

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9. Anchored side leg raise

Lie on one side with your legs and hips stacked. Your arms should be straight out at shoulder level. For those of you more advanced, hold a dumbbell. Keep your upper body steady as you slowly lift both feet off the floor. Slowly lower them.  Do several sets of about 10-15 reps.

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10. Crunches

There are a lot of ways to do crunches and workout your core. Do them laying on the floor or using a bench or a ball. Curl your head and upper torso up – don’t hurt your neck! Breath air through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Don't worry about repetitions. Quality is always more important than quantity. Focus on doing them right.

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11. Rowing

For those of you, who have some time to hit the gym, spend about 20 minutes rowing. Aim at going the largest distance you possibly can. Try to increase the distance every time. Rowing might be just the thing you need when you lack time. The exercise combines both cardio and strength training at the same time.

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12. Use the stairs, please

Before, after and during lunch, hit the stairs. Just 10-15 minutes walking up and down several flights get your muscles burning. If you want to get stronger, faster and avoid injury while saving time, do them. There is no sugarcoating this exercise. Just do it.

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13. Burpees

And when you’re done, switch to the other exercises trainers swear by – “good old-fashioned burpees,” as Doug Sklar, founder of PhilanthroFIT Training, calls them. Start by doing 20 burpees in a row, then walk a little bit. Then do 15, and walk (rest) again. Continue the countdown. You can try a little different approach: Run up the stairs as fast as you can and do just 5-10 burpees. Then run down and do burpees again. You can easily burn 80-100 calories in a few minutes of this.

Photo Modified: Flickr / E'Lisa Campbell / CC BY 4.0

14. Set the treadmill to incline

You have just about 20 minutes and your body is sore or you’re too lazy to do different exercises? No problem. You don’t even have to run on the treadmill. Walk but make sure the incline is at least 2.5. Need incentive? You can actually burn more than 150 calories if you several minutes of walking uphill.

15. Kickboxing

Kickboxing is another exercise that moves your whole body at once. Do it for 10-15 minutes and you’ll feel breathless and sweaty even sensing the calories burning in your body.

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16. Seated stretches

There is no excuse for avoiding seated stretched while at the office. They take no time and feel so good! You need to stretch your muscles in order to avoid injury next time you train or to simply prevent soreness. The simplest example is flexed-elbow shoulder circles – it increases shoulder joint mobility and keeps that upper-body blood flowing.

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17. Do circuits

One of the best ways to save time but get the same result is by working out without taking breaks. Circuits are an awesome cardio exercise that burns a lot of calories. Only 20 minutes of a few times a week can be enough. Move quickly between exercises, and you may burn 7-10 calories per minute! You’ll burn more than usual when you’re at rest as well because your body needs more to cool down.

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18. Focus on cardio

Lack of time can be a great opportunity to alternate between short, high-intensity bursts of speed with bouts at a slower pace exercises. This is one of the best ways to speed up your metabolism, too.

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19. Take a walk

Have a meeting about setting an agenda or a deadline? Why not discuss the issue outside? Go on a little power walk (can be fast-paced, too) for 20 minutes. Get some fresh air. This can be the only exercise you do all day.

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20. Jumping jacks

This aerobic exercise is very convenient because it can be done literally anywhere. All you need is a little space to jump in. This is a great cardio exercise elevate your heart rate – you burn fat at a fast rate.

The 20 Best Lunch Break Exercises to Get You through the Holidays