Sitting, standing, and working at a computer for too long can cause discomfort as well as lead to decreased productivity and ability to focus. Sitting for long periods can also increase your risk of certain illness and chronic disease. Your body craves movement and variety in your postures. Microbreaks of six to 10 seconds are recommended every 20–30 minutes. Longer activity breaks are advised at least once an hour. Here are some tips to help work more movement into your day.

But wait, I’m an active person!
A recent study found that outside regularly scheduled exercise, active people sit just as much as inactive people—an average of 64 hours a week. Sitting for long periods of time can negatively affect your circulation and muscles. Be sure all aspects of your life support your fitness activities and overall wellness goals.

Set reminders
It’s easy to get caught up in whatever you are working on and lose track of time. Set reminders on your calendar or on your phone to alert you when it’s time to take a breather. There are also some free apps available that can help remind you to move.

Change your posture
Your body is designed to move and needs variation in positions. If you’ve been sitting, stand and stretch to wake up your dormant muscles. If you’ve been standing, sit and give your muscles that have been supporting you a rest. Just make sure your break activity differs from your previous activity.

Get creative
Consciously try to work more movement into your day outside of regularly scheduled exercise. Use a restroom, water fountain or printer on another floor and take the stairs to get there. Use a smaller reusable water bottle so that you have to get up and refill it more often. The more you move, the better you will feel.

Be intentional
Avoid mixing work and breaks. Be sure to step away from whatever you are working on and change your position. Not only will your body thank you, but your mind will as well. Breaks increase your ability to focus and productivity.

Don’t forget your eyes
Your eyes need a break too! It’s recommended that computer users take a break from their screen every 20 minutes and look more than 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to help combat eye fatigue.

Ergonomic evaluations available
Make sure your work space supports your overall health and your wellness goals. Small adjustments to your existing workspace can make a world of difference. Contact Health Promotion and Wellness for an ergonomic evaluation. Guidelines for seated computer stations as well as laptop use are also available.


Additional resources
Campus Recreation
Ergonomics Pinterest board
Guided relaxation audio from Health Promotion and Wellness
Lifestyle Enhancement Program
Yoga at Your Desk video from Health Promotion and Wellness