Healthy Computing: Wiggle and Reach

Optimize your performance and prevent computer-related injuries with Healthy Computing Tips. Each week we provide hints to help you stay healthier while working.


Being captured by the screen, working quickly and moving the cursor accurately tends to increase muscle tension. Without episodic relaxation and movement breaks, this can lead to chronic neck, shoulder and arm discomfort. Interrupt your low-level muscle tension when you Wiggle and Reach.

How to Wiggle and Reach:

Take every opportunity to interrupt your work (e.g., clicking on a new website, ending an email, finishing entering data) and wiggle and move. At least every half hour, wiggle or get up from the chair and move. Just wiggle and shake. The more you wiggle during the day the more tension is released.

In addition, do some stretching or active movement every hour when sitting. Explore the following while sitting:

Let both arms hang at your sides. Exhale as you reach across your lap with your right hand and stroke from your left thigh down your left calf to your ankle. As you stroke down, lift your left knee up 6 inches and rotate your head to the right. Inhale as you lower your knee, return your head to center, and pull your right hand up your left leg and across your lap until it rests hanging at your side. Now, do this with your left hand and right leg. Remember to exhale as you stroke down to your ankle while turning your head to the left, and to inhale as you return to neutral. Repeat 5 times, alternating from side to side. Relax completely for 1 breath before resuming the movement.

Take every opportunity to stretch and move.


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Written by Erik Peper PhD

Explore Wellness in 2021