Recess for Grownups

By now everyone knows the benefits of physical activity for health promotion. As unequivocal as the research is, few of us seem to follow the suggested guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day.

If finding 30 minutes out of a jam-packed day sounds implausible, how about 10? Toni Yancey, a professor of health services at UCLA, is promoting brief bouts of exercise in a new book called Instant Recess. The idea is that for ten minutes twice a day, colleagues take a break for structured exercise like a brisk walk around campus or a group dance.

By building exercise into the work day and making it social, instant recess bypasses individual excuses to stay sedentary. Companies like L.L. Bean have incorporated short exercise breaks into their factories. As a result, workers are more productive and less likely to get injured. What starts at the workplace builds confidence and skills to continue physical activity at home.

It may seem silly to dance with your colleagues for a few minutes a day. But the camaraderie it builds and the health habits it instills could be worth the embarrassment. And it’s only for ten minutes.


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