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Take scheduled mini-exercise breaks with FitBolt

Sitting at a desk all day, day after day, is not good for your well-being. FitBolt reminds you to stretch and exercise throughout the workday, helping you to improve your health.

I keep hand exercisers on my desk and barbells under it. But how often do I use these exercise instruments in a given week? Somewhere between "seldom" and "never." Luckily, I work from home and have a young, energetic dog, and a small, fence-less yard. One of the many things I enjoy about my dog is her insistence on going outside multiple times a day for walks in the park.

If your job requires you to spend long stretches at a desk and you don't have a dog in the office to get you out of your chair frequently, I suggest you give FitBolt a try. Available as a Web app, a Windows desktop app, or a browser extension, it provides regularly scheduled breaks for short exercises or stretches. FitBolt is free, though it requires you to sign up with an e-mail address. You'll also encounter the occasional ad.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

There is a paid version of FitBolt. For $3 a month, you can get rid of the ads while obtaining wellness tips, posture and ergonomics tips, and nutrition and health tips -- in addition to the stretches and exercises you get with the free version.

After signing up and installing FitBolt as an extension for Chrome or Firefox, a desktop app for Windows, or simply launching the Web app, you'll be brought to the FitBolt dashboard. Here you can adjust a slider for the frequency of its alerts (the shortest interval is 10 minutes and the longest is 50 minutes). You can also choose for the alert to arrive by desktop notification or chime (or both). You also get a chart of your last seven days of using FitBolt that shows the types of exercises you've done and when you did them.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

When you get an alert, you can click on it to view clearly illustrated directions for the exercise. For each exercise, it rates its difficulty and goofiness, which can help you decide whether each exercise is right for your fitness level and office environment.

Of course, you could skip FitBolt and go out and buy a treadmill desk. Then again, the goofiness level has to be high on any and all treadmill desks.

(Via Lifehacker)