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Activity and break apps to help you move at work

Below are some apps that can be downloaded to your phone, computer, or other device to remind you to take breaks from sitting at a desk too long. The descriptions of the apps come from their website and give some examples of their features. Take a look. See which works best for you!


Mobile device reminder apps

For iPhones and iPads

Move - Daily Activity to Stay Healthy
Cost:
Free
Get reminded every so often to stand up and do a tiny exercise. Over 300 random workouts keep it exciting (more added every day). Create a healthy habit through occasional reminders. Pick when you do workouts and how often. Choose your reminder sound. Create your own exercises to be absolutely anything you want.
 

Stand Up! The Work Break Timer
Cost:
Free
Completely customizable to your work schedule. Set it and forget it. Set your reminder interval to any five-minute increment between five minutes and two hours. The header shows you at a glance how you're doing, and how long to your next alarm. Limit alarms to your office location so it doesn't bug you when you go out to lunch.
 

StandApp
Cost:
$.99
StandApp promotes healthy living by providing an alarm reminder to stand up and take a break from your desk. StandApp includes 15 easy exercises anyone can perform at their desk during their standing breaks. You can set the reminder interval to a custom time.


For Android phones and tablets

Randomly RemindMe
Cost:
Free
Do you have trouble drinking enough water during the day? Maybe you want a reminder to step away from the computer for a bit. How about a reminder to stop and do push-ups? Trying to make a habit? Or break one? This app will let you set any number of custom reminders that will remind you throughout the day for that and a whole lot more.
 

Stretching & Eye Exercises
Cost:
$1.99 and Free Version
TakeBreak is a stretching and eye exercises app which notifies you when you need to take a break. Taking breaks at least every 45 minutes is very important to your health. The stretch exercises will help you to lower or even eliminate your neck, back, waist or shoulder pains and eye exercises will make your eyes stronger and your vision better. The program has 15 exercises and takes approximately 3-4 minutes to finish.
 

Office Exercise & Stretch
Cost:
$1.49
Just pick a stretch or exercise, set a reminder (e.g., Monday and Tuesday at 2pm), and you are done. Your phone will make sure you get up from that chair and move! With the office exercise & stretch you can choose between 30 exercises and stretches and 5 "workout" sequences. You can set up multiple reminders that match your schedule and needs.
 

Computer reminder apps

For Windows

Awareness
Cost:
Free
Awareness is an app that sets a timer in your menu bar, counting the time you’ve been active in your computer. Once you reach a specific period of time without taking a break, the sound of a bowl will play, reminding you that it’s time to step away for a while. If the app doesn’t detect activity in your computer after a set period of time, the timer will reset; however, if you keep working without taking a break, the next time the timer goes off, the sound of the bowl will be played twice, and so forth. The app even includes a link to a website where you can find some useful ideas on how to take advantage of your breaks.
 

Big Stretch Reminder
Cost:
Free
Big Stretch is a simple reminder tool that prompts you to take regular breaks and helps prevent the symptoms that come from sitting too long. Alternatively it can be a simple reminder program to tell you when it’s your coffee break!
 

Workrave
Cost:
Free
Workrave is a program that reminds you to take microbreaks throughout the day and can also help you limit your computer usage while at home. It has settings that let you configure it in a way that works best for you including when to take breaks and how long they should be. This program also gives you examples of exercises that you can do while on a break. 
 

PC Work Break
Cost:
$39.99 for single computer license with lifetime upgrades
PC Work Break is another program that reminds you to take breaks and includes stretches, eye breaks, and various exercises. It is customizable and works with your computer to help find breaks that work well for you.
 

For Mac

Awareness
Cost:
Free
Awareness helps you become more aware of time spent on the computer by playing the sound of a Tibetan singing bowl to mark every hour of continuous computer use. It also displays how long you’ve been using your computer without a break in the menu bar. Awareness will never nag you or force you to stop using the computer. Just take a five-minute break whenever you are ready, and Awareness will sense it.
 

Time Out
Cost:
Free
Time Out has two kinds of breaks: a "Normal" break and a "Micro" break. You can disable either kind of break if desired, and the breaks are automatically paused when you go away from your computer, and can be reset when you come back. You can configure how long each kind of break lasts, and how long between breaks. Each Time Out is announced via the screen slowly dimming, with related graphics materializing, and when the break is complete, it fades out again. 
 

Healthier: Break Reminder
Cost:
$3.99
Healthier periodically reminds you to take a break from your computer, and suggests HealthierTips, which are hand-picked, office-suitable exercises for both eyes and body that you can follow during the breaks.

Reviewed June 27, 2015.