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Ask Your Boss for a 12:30 Recess

Not just any recess – instant recess.  Instant recess is a 10-minute break that consists of a variety of quick exercises which can improve your productivity, mood, and even some health parameters.

I know my blog readers are mostly fit, health-conscious people living in and around NYC – so you get more exercise than the average American.  Meaning, you might not see a decrease in your blood pressure or waist circumference if you take an instant recess.  But you might notice a difference in your mood, attention span, or on-task behaviors.

What’s most interesting to me about the idea of an instant recess is that it meaningfully contributes to moderate physical activity.  So, if you took 6 10-minute recesses per day, you’d be engaging in 60 minutes of physical activity.  Honestly I find it hard to believe that it equates perfectly (and more research is being done), but if it could make you happier and contribute a little to your daily physical activity, why not?!

Here are some suggestions:

Take an aerobic break: march in place, do modified jumping jacks, do a series of punches and kicks, knee raises

Take a strength break: wall push ups, squats, shoulder raises, lunges, bicep/tricep curls

Take a stretch break (remember your muscle groups): back and shoulder, upper body, arms, quads and hamstrings, calves

ALWAYS: bend from the hip and remember to breathe!
NEVER: lock a joint or bounce when stretching.

A recent article in the New York Times highlighted recent studies which indicate that sedentary people who don’t exercise but get short bursts (i.e. running to the bus or subway) experience better cardiorespiratory fitness, even if they don’t meet the exercise guidelines (30 minutes per day, 5 days per week).   So get up and move! Take an instant recess, go for a short powerwalk during your lunch break or dance for a few minutes to your favorite song – the little things can add up to better health.

You can read the article here:

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