Students, you need to stop sitting still. The nature of post-secondary education makes this challenging, we know. But, sitting in one position for longer than 45-60 minutes can lead to discomfort and even reduced productivity.

So, to stay comfortable, healthy, and productive, take micro-breaks while you study or work. These breaks will get you out of sitting still for 1-3 minutes and can consist of a brief walk (to get water or go to the bathroom, for example) or a stretch.

The Art of Not Sitting Still

Even a short bout of movement helps recharge the mental batteries, improve blood flow, remove waste products from muscles, and limber up muscles and joints. You will get more done if you aren’t just sitting still for hours on end.

Stay aware of your posture to prevent distracting soreness. Instead of sitting with a curved spine bent over your books, stay upright with your back against the backrest. If it is hard to maintain this posture and view your notepad or books, consider placing them on a binder with the spine away from you to elevate and angle up your reading material, promoting a more-upright posture.

But, again, even in good posture, you may still be sitting still for too long. This is where stretches come in handy.

Start with the executive stretch, which stretches the front of the chest to combat the forward-flexed posture commonly seen while studying and using computers. To perform this stretch pictured below, unlock the backrest of your chair and lace your fingers behind your head, then recline backwards while opening the elbows. Do not extend your neck. Hold the stretch 10 seconds and repeat 3 times. Do this stretch about once an hour to alleviate soreness.

In short, to maximize comfort and productivity, sit up in your chair with your back against the backrest, take a brief walk once an hour, and stretch regularly.

If you have any questions on this blog series or other topics, feel free to contact us at

EWI Works offers many services that can improve your health and quality of life at work. Find out more about our Online Training, Services, and Resources.

Follow us on Twitter for more updates and offers, or sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of our homepage.