Active Breaks Keep Your Stress Away

Why are we sitting longer than we should? There are two main reasons to this: technological advancements and high stress levels. Technological advancements have made our lives easier and more convenient. We can shop online instead of visiting a store, or order meals online instead of walking to a restaurant. Due to these behavioural changes, we have become less physically active and more sedentary (Patel et al., 2010). When we are stressed, we may feel exhausted, fatigued and lack of motivation to exercise, which will also increase sedentary behaviours (Stults-Kolehmainen & Sinha, 2014).

Prolonged sitting is associated with unhealthy behaviours, such as overeating when binge-watching TV shows (Patel et al., 2010). This may increase the risk of obesity and cardiovascular diseases regardless of our physical activity levels (Jakes et al., 2003). Also, prolonged sitting will increase all-cause mortality (ACM) rate by 40% and 20% among women and men respectively (Patel et al., 2010). While being physically activity can reduce ACM rate by up to 25%, it may not be sufficient to compensate for the health problems arisen from prolonged sitting (Patel et al., 2010). Therefore, it is recommended that we should both reduce sitting time and increase our engagement in physical activity to promote health and wellness. The following exercises can help you reduce stress, regenerate energy and relax during your break from work.

Reduce stress. Punching and kicking are exercises that can reduce stress. How? If you imagine yourself punching and kicking your stress away, your stress will go away!


1. Put one foot in front of the other into a split stance

2. Take a deep breath in

3. While breathing out, punch with your forward arm.

4. Imagine that you are punching away your problems and stress

5. Repeat 10 times per side




1. Put one foot in front of the other into a split stance.

2. Take a deep breath in.

3. Kick out the forward leg while breathing out.

4. Imagine that you are kicking away all your problems and stress

5. Repeat 10 times per side 

Regenerate energy. Push-up and leg raises are simple strengthening exercises that you can do in front of your writing desk. They also help to improve circulation throughout your body to reenergize you such that you can stay focused at work throughout the day.


1. Put your arms on the edge of the desk

2. As you breath in, lower your chest and arms towards the desk while keeping your spine at a neutral position

3. As you breath out, extend your arms

4. Repeat 10 times



Leg Extensions

1. Sit tall on your chair

2. Raise one leg and then the other

3. Take a deep breath in and point your toes forward as you breath out

4. Repeat 10 times



Neck Massage

1. Place your hand over your shoulder

2. Squeeze your muscle on your shoulder to relax it

3. You may use a tennis ball or a smooth rock to massage your neck



Back Stretch

1. Stand behind your chair

2. Put your hand at the top of the chair rest

3. Bend your hips and try to lower your chest toward the ground as much as possible. Make sure your back is in a neutral position

4. Focus on breathing. Hold the position for 10-20 seconds

5. Stand back up and repeat 5 times

Reducing sitting time and replace it with light-intensity physical activity can help reduce stress and improve productivity at work. Which of these exercises have you tried? How do you feel afterwards? Let us know via email at or call us at 647-854-4316!

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Rachel Lau, BKin