#MotivationMonday: Ways to Exercise During Class

In honour of Live Active Week here at UBC, we’ve put together a list of super-subtle exercises you can do at a desk. Great for those long midterm study sessions or even when you’re just listening in class, these exercises will have you feeling fitter in no time! And to help get you active on this #MotivationMonday, we’ve enlisted the help of some motivational stick figures here to demonstrate some of the exercises.


Arms 1

  • Place your palms on the armrests of your chair and hold yourself up above the chair so that you have no bodyweight on the seat. [x]

Arms 2

  • Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor, clasp hands together like you would if giving yourself a handshake (one thumb pointing to the floor and the other pointing to the ceiling). Then pull while resisting the motion of both arms! You should really feel this in your biceps. Hold for 10 seconds or more, release, and repeat. [x]


Abs 1

  • Lean slightly back in your chair and lift your feet off the floor keeping your legs straight at a 45 degree angle, then bend your knees upwards toward your chest and shoot them back out to the starting position; do this for 3 sets and 20 reps. [x]
  • Exhale fully, then squeeze in your stomach as much as possible, and hold the position for 5 to 8 seconds, and do two sets of 8 reps. [x]

Abs 2

  • Try some seated isometric crunches! Place both elbows on the thighs and curl the chest in towards the legs while resisting the movement with the arms. Hold for 10 seconds, release, and repeat times 10. [x]


  • To work your inner thighs, squeeze a mini exercise ball for 10 seconds in 3 sets of 20 reps, three to five times a week. [x]

legs 1

  • “Marching in place,” in a seated position, keep your legs bent at a 90 degree angle and raise and lower the bent leg. Work 5 minutes on each leg. [x]
  • Hold glutes tight for 5 seconds, then release, for 10 reps; do one set per hour. Squeeze glute muscles on alternating sides – left for five seconds, right for five, for 10 to 20 reps each, will create circulation on your backside, too [x]


Try these exercises out the next time you have a spare minute in class, and stay tuned with us the rest of the week for more ideas on getting and staying active!