I spend a good portion of my day sat in a office chair. I have heard from various sources about the importance of breaks for eyestrain and physical wellbeing.

With that in mind, how often should I take breaks and what physical activity should I incorporate into either the breaks or whilst sitting down?

  • What are you asking? Your question is very broad.
    – John
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 13:41
  • @JJosaur I've heard that it's bad for someone to stay sited for more than one hour straight, for example. And I've just wanted to know if that is true and if it's really one our and how much time should we move after one hour.
    – Rui Lima
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 14:22
  • I went ahead and edited the question. Does it still fit your needs?
    – John
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 14:26

2 Answers 2


Every time you have an opportunity to do something physically exerting, do it. Health & Safety Executive recommends:

short, frequent breaks are more satisfactory than occasional, longer breaks: e.g., a 5-10 minute break after 50-60 minutes continuous screen and/or keyboard work is likely to be better than a 15 minute break every 2 hours;

However, there are a million ways to exercise and keep active while at work...

  • Always take the stairs.
  • Set an alarm to go off every hour while working. Stop gaming, do 5 minute walk, reset alarm, start working again.
  • Use half an hour of your lunch break to explore the area around your office on foot. Find a pleasant walk (if you can) and walk it at breaks. Bonus: de-stress.
  • Stand up during meetings, if it's socially acceptable to do so. If you can, stand on one leg. Subtly.
  • Always offer to do the coffee run.
  • Set an alarm to remind you to stand up and stretch every hour at your desk.
  • Drink lots of water all day at work. Forces you to get up frequently and pee.
  • Replace your chair with a yoga ball.
  • For squats, squat all the way down when picking things up off the floor.
  • Keep your foot suspended in the air as you're putting a shoe on it.
  • Knee raises, heel raises, and toe raises while waiting in line.
  • Get a grip trainer and put 15 minutes into it each day while reading the news. Brain and forarm/finger gains!
  • Hold your feet off the floor while reading emails.
  • Kegals (look it up, not at work)
  • Get a standing desk (not sure how effective this is though)

You are correct, the human body wasn't made to sit down for long periods of time. It is very unnatural, but with the information age, it is basically inevitable.

I work as a software developer and understand your pain. There are a few things you can do.

You can get a stand up desk, so that you limit straining your lower back and engraving an unnatural position for your spine. If this is not an option, try to get up and stretch every 20 minutes or so, go for a little walk, get a cup of tea, if your building has stairs, go up and down these stairs.

I don't really know your situation so I can't recommend any specific exercises but if none of these are an option, try to offset the time you spend sitting down by the time you spend standing up and moving. So if you work all day and sit down all day from 9-5, then when you get home, go to the gym, go for a long walk, go for a jog, go biking, play a sport, go gardening, anything that's movement will be beneficial. Just stay active :)

  • Good idea is to not have only one fixed position. Try different levels of work. I do some standing up and put laptop at mid chest height. Then you can use a couch for a short while and even try to use later a big bouncing ball as a dynamic seat in which you need to balance all the time.
    – nilon
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 15:22
  • @nilon Sure, anything that keeps you from adapting to the unnatural sitting position is the right idea.
    – 0xMert
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 15:33
  • Also consider walking/biking to work if possible and or going by public transport instead of car.
    – nilon
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 15:40

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