I've worked desk jobs since I was in college. I started off at an IT help desk where I sat for most of the day before moving on to tier-one support at a managed service provider where I also worked the help desk and sat for hours on end.
Now I write for a living, and it's no surprise that, yet again, I spend most the day sitting in front of a computer.
With a sedentary computer-bound life comes a whole bunch of health issues that office workers all over the world deal with: Hand strain, tired eyes, muscle tension, getting out of shape.
Luckily our digital culture has come to the rescue with plenty of mobile apps that help office workers stay fit and healthy, and these five stand out.
SEE: Ergonomics policy (Tech Pro Research)
1. Yoga Studio: Mind & Body
While this app from yoga giant Gaiam focuses on the kind of yoga you can't really do in the office, it does have five workouts designed to be done at your desk.
A standout is the finger stretches workout; I've found it incredibly beneficial for my fingers and wrists, which have been getting progressively worse the past few years.
Yoga Studio is free to download, but you'll need a subscription to access the desk classes and the other Gaiam-designed sequences. It's available on the Google Play store and Apple App Store.
2. Workout Trainer by Skimble
Workout Trainer is a great app for those who want to get into fitness, be it in the office or at home. It features a ton of workouts filterable by duration, difficulty, muscle group, and more. For a fee you can get access to premium workouts and even one-on-one access to a personal trainer.
For office workers there are a ton of desk-based workouts of varying difficulties, and even some that you could do in the break room. If you're looking for a bit of burn while replying to emails, check out Workout Trainer by Skimble on iOS and Android.
If an office competition is what you need to get moving, then Stridekick is the app you want. Stridekick is essentially a pedometer app that tracks steps using your phone's accelerometer or one of any number of fitness trackers, such as an Apple Watch or Fitbits. The big difference between Stridekick and other step-tracking apps is that this one pits you against friends to see who walks the most each day.
SEE: How to manage job stress: An IT leader's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Stridekick allows up to 10 people in a group, but for companies that want to make it an office-wide competition an organizational version, called MoveSpring, is available as well.
Stridekick is available on iOS and Android.
4. Insight Timer
Office health doesn't only involve stretching your hands and doing cardio—it also includes mental well-being too. There are a lot of mindfulness apps available, but most of them come with a subscription fee, which doesn't seem conducive to reducing stress.
Insight Timer is a free mindfulness app that can help you take a few minutes to calm yourself and relieve stress during the day. It includes simple timed meditations as well as guided meditations, communities, and other features that make it a go-to app for stress relief during the workday.
Insight Timer is available on iOS and Android.
Staying healthy, especially when you're prone to being sedentary at work, requires eating well. Fooducate wants to help make good food choices easier, and it does so by maintaining a massive database of food barcodes that you can scan with your phone to see a grade for that product.
You can also use Fooducate to track your calories, and you'll get daily feedback on the quality of the foods you're eating. Fooducate is available for iOS and Android.
- Fit by Data: Where data and fitness overlap (ZDNet)
- Five free apps to help remind you to take a break (TechRepublic)
- How to use your Amazon Echo as a personal fitness trainer (CNET)
- 3 health maintenance tips for frequent business travelers (TechRepublic)
- Mental health therapy via mobile apps could replace office visits (Download.com)
Brandon Vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.