Workrave: A Geeky Way to Exercise while Using Linux

Workrave is a free and open source software application aimed at computer users who are suffering from occupational diseases such as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and carpal tunnel syndrome. The program works by encouraging users to take a break every few minutes or so to help heal or prevent those injuries mentioned above.

My "12 Essential Exercises for Geeks" article was mentioned at Free Software Magazine, and Ryan Cartwright, the author, was surprised that I failed to mention Workrave. To be honest, I didn't know about this software until I've read his post. I only had the chance to try Workrave just recently, so I'm writing this quick observation about this program.

Workrave does everything as advertised. It regularly reminds you via desktop notification to take micro-pauses and rest breaks, and it tells you if you have exceeded your daily computer usage limit. The default and most probably the recommended time to take micro-pauses is every 3 minutes with a 30-second break duration, every 45 minutes for rest breaks with a 10-minute break duration, and the daily computer use limit is set to 4 hours.

During rest breaks, a sexy animated character named "Miss Workrave", urges the user to do some good stretching exercises...

I ended up using Workrave for a short time only because it has become quite annoying. Since I'm used to using the computer for 1 to 2 hours straight, I skipped thru several breaks and exercises making Workrave useless in my case. Don't get me wrong, but to use this software, I think you need to have a great amount of discipline.

Anyway, I'm totally fit right now so I guess there's no reason for me to use Workrave. But to those who are already having symptoms of RSI or carpal tunnel syndrome, this could be the perfect software aid for you.

To those who want to try Workrave, it's available in most Linux distro repositories so just search for it. You can as well get it directly from its download page HERE.

You may also want to check out these interesting articles about Workrave:

* Land of the Freeware: Workrave, a great way to kiss RSI good-bye

* Marcel's Linux App of the Month: Workrave

* Workrave fights repetitive strain injuries

Is Workrave useful to you, or useless? Please share with us your views via comment.


  1. i definitely find workrave useful!
    I've had some injuries (sporting and sitting too many hours in front of a computer) and workrave is good at reminding me to take a break now and then.

    I find my injuries are less sore too.

    You can always configure it to give you breaks at lengths that suit you.

  2. Workrave is a great software! Even though you are fit and healthy right now, I still urge you to reconsider Workrave. I was very healthy when RSI hit me. And yes, I totally ignored advices about taking breaks before I had RSI. If you use the computer several hours straight, that's potential for RSI. So I hope you try the software again, and try configuring the timers until it is minimally annoying. Now I have WorkPace installed, WorkPace is not free but my company has a license. I have an article comparing the Workrave and WorkPace, please check it out