Active breaks - Combat routine and renew your senses

Active breaks

Combat routine and renew your senses

Eight, ten or maybe more are the total amount of hours that we spend working, the most part of them in front of a screen. Due to the lack of movement of our eyes, neck, shoulders, back, hips and legs, we are susceptible to suffer from some lesion that could become serious problems. We ask some specialists to provide some tips on this.

Active breaks are referred to those exercises that anyone can practice during the work day, focusing on breath management and neck, back and limbs’ stretching. ‘These exercises do not generate pain and must be done slowly. Breathing must be deep and rhythmic, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Indeed, during exercise it is important to keep the back straight, feet slightly separated and knees partially bent’, indicates Silvia Solano Álvarez, labor doctor specialized in occupational health.

According to the occupational therapist Johana Díaz Forero, these exercises must be done twice or three times per week, with a recommended duration of 10 minutes. Here are some of her suggestions:


  • Keep the head in a central position
  • Blink your eyes until your eyelids are moistened
  • Bring you index finger closer to your nose. Observe the point of your finger during 10 seconds and when you move it away in several directions following it with your eyes


  • Bend your head trying to touch your chest with your chin. Keeping this position, take the chip slowly towards your right side maintaining this position for 10 seconds and, then, repeat the same action towards your left side.
  • Turn your head slowly to the right. Keep your gaze up your shoulders for 10 seconds. Go back to the center and then, turn your head to the left side. 


  • Raise your shoulders and then bring them back to the starting position. Repeat this action 5 times.
  • Place your hands on your shoulders and draw simultaneously 5 big circles backward. Repeat the same movement forward.

Elbows and hands

  • Bend your elbows keeping down the palms of your hands. Wield your hands and make circles with your wrists. Repeat this movement 5 times outward and 5 times inward.
  • Wield your hands and open them separating the fingers creating some tension. Keep for five minutes each position.
  • Bring your arms forward and move the wrist up and down 5 times.


  • Interweave your hands behind your back and push down slowly, keeping your back straight until you feel a mild tension. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
  • Place your hands on your hips and bring the trunk first to the right and then, left. Repeat this 5 times.
  • Standing with your back straight, lift your right knee as if you will touch your chest and embrace it with both of your arms. Hold it for 10 seconds and do the same with the other leg.
  • Bend the trunk forward, hold this position for 10 seconds with your head up and legs apart.


  • Stand on tiptoe and hold this position for 10 seconds.
  • Take one foot forward and make circles to one side and then to the other. 

There are other alternatives to break out the routine and activate the senses:

  1. Probably, near your office there is a park or an interesting space to visit. Going for a walk to a park or walking along the corridors of the office in the meantime that you hold a good coffee, tea or glass of water is also a good option.
  2. Walking up and down the stairs.
  3. Listening to your favorite music while you walk around the surroundings helps also to break away from the routine. It takes just 10 minutes!
  4. Take few minutes at mid-afternoon to call a friend or family member. During the work day look at those people you love. Also, if you are blocked, stand up, talk for few minutes to your colleague, laugh and, why not, organize the plan for this night or weekend.

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