businessman lifting weight

If you have access to a company gym, staying fit is easier than ever. If you don't, be sure to check with your boss before lifting weights on the job.


Getting a workout on the clock may be as easy as showing up to work -- if you're a construction worker or rafting guide. For others, getting a workout at a place of employment may be as easy as walking down to the company gym. However, a good many workers without the luxury of on-site gyms (or permissive managers) may have to sneak in a few reps within the confines of their cubicles when nobody's looking.

We should be getting all the exercise we can. There are around 130 million American workers, and about 1 in 3 is at risk of developing a chronic disease [source: American Heart Association]. Between age 20 and retirement, the American worker has a 1-in-3 chance of becoming eligible for disability benefits [source: Social Security Administration]. And when retired workers move, 3 out of 5 list "access to healthcare" as the top reason for relocating [source: Hughes].

There's clearly a need for healthier practices both in and out of the workplace. But is exercise itself welcome at work?

If your employer has an on-site gym, exercise is clearly welcome -- when it takes place inside the gym. If you have the urge to do some cubicle lunges, you may want to bottle that up and save it for the on-site facility.

Even if you have the green light to perform cardio kickboxing in your cubicle, you still need to be aware of how it's affecting you and those around you. If you're stinking up the joint and frequently gasping to catch your breath, your daily exercise sessions will be most unwelcome no matter how tolerant your employer is otherwise.

Even if exercise is encouraged, don't be tricked into thinking your workplace is more casual than it is. You know the saying, "When in doubt, be the best-dressed person there"? It's better to wear your coat and tie while speaking to your sweat-suited boss than the other way around.

But how accepted is exercise in the workplace? We'll find out, next.