When the internet first emerged in the 90s, it became obvious the chair would eventually conquer. With its accomplice in screen-time, it snatched the crown from the high-born king of slumber, coma, and siesta - the bed.
Today the queen of a midday slump, squeezed fannies, nerd necks, and deskbound hunching, rules over our work days - and she is still flying knee-high, gluing butts like never before.
This change in power doesn’t suit the Glued Ones (us humans). We’re experiencing many infirmities because of it. Back pain, high blood pressure, belly fat, diabetes… problems we don’t want to spend too much time listing.
In order to counter the issue, we need movement - and short physical activity breaks seem to be the silver bullet. The one aiming to wipe out adverse effects and bring about the world of many health benefits.
#1 Physical activity breaks can boost your health
An array of research, claims Mayo Clinic, links long seated periods with multiple health issues. The meta-analysis revealed that people sitting for way too long develop the same risk of dying early as smokers do. On the opposite end, research on activity bursts found that students reported reduced levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
The key to avoiding a smoker’s destiny without taking a single puff is to break the long sitting patterns with physical activity. If you’re looking to swap the poor vitality with salubrity, try to:
- Take a minimum of 5 movement breathers daily
- Take movement breaks any day you spend sitting
- Ideally, take a short exercise break every 30 mins
- Mix up exercises on each break
- Whenever possible, go and do it outside
Finally, a little rule of thumb here. The more you sit, the more activity you should go for. Aim for about an hour a day in total. A study done by the University of Cambridge states that sedentary hazards can be fully eliminated with 60 to 75 minutes of physical activity daily.
Outdoor activity is the best form of brain break
Why you may wonder? Well, the outdoor activity allows you to get fresh air exposure and sunlight, which helps to boost your mood and energy levels. Additionally, going for a daily mile in nature can help clear your mind and reduce stress levels, providing both physical and mental benefits.
Do standing breaks to counter sedenterianism (as stated by Berkeley)
Sitting for too long poses serious risks, such as contributing to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. Prolonged sedentary behavior can also lead to a decrease in HDL (good cholesterol), as well as obesity. To diminish these risks, it's important to do more standing exercises and move around regularly.
#2 Break activities to relieve back pain (or neck pain)
First and foremost, drill this deep into your soul. If you’re on the gloomy end of healthiness status - dealing with injuries and chronic pain - staying physically active is good for you! In particular, folks with chronic back pain (NSCLBP), often caused by prolonged sitting, are urged to always stay active. A little search on PubMed Google Scholar revealed long periods of inactivity have adverse outcomes on recovery.
OK, now, let’s address the underlying issue.
Most people dealing with pain know that recovery is their way out. They also know what they should be doing to heal - but knowing it is usually not the issue. Finding time to do those curls and stretches every day…that is where most of us stumble.
So, what if - instead of booking long recovery sessions - you integrated rehabilitation into work pauses? It’s a win-win (and win), isn’t it? You wouldn’t completely murder your tight schedule, you’d recover faster, and you’d still get well-deserved breathers from work.
At Wakeout, we actually brewed a set of relieving stretches to help you infuse recovery into your daily breathers with physical activity. We’ve done the same to help relieve your neck tension. If it’s stopping you to set up a third screen on your desk, then this 1-minute relief routine will help.
#3 Physical activity breaks can rid you of a slump
Chairs are not the problem here. They just alleviate the afternoon slump caused by your lunch, work, and circadian rhythm, combined.
It’s normal wanting to doze off in the afternoon. It’s natural. However, it’s also normal not to want to doze off in the afternoon 🤓. That’s, hmmm, rational.
Just 1 session (2 tops, pinky swear) of physically active rest, and you’ll jump on the saddle of a crazy, ecstatic horse and beat the slump times and again. We promise a few sessions will add up to gifting you with:
- Sharper focus
- Through-the-roof energy
- Better mood
As a result, that guilt you feel after another sterile and unfruitful afternoon will perish into an abyss.
#4 Exercise breaks are as quick as a wink
😉 - and you’re done.
That’s why we love them. So much, we actually created thousands of exercise videos just so you’d love them as much (and stay active).
Please don’t get carried away thinking you’ll live to see a Greek God’s physique in the mirror. Instagram filters, fake experts, and banned substances do that - we don’t. However, we do know these joyous breathers are super quick and leave time for other things (e.g. life). And perhaps, a couple of weeks later, there’s a chance these daily activities fit you into your favorite shirt without even breaking a sweat.
Just imagine a physical activity break you can sneak into your busy schedule for a minute. Adults get a well-deserved break from work. Students get to do anything but studying. You “work out” without even noticing. Plus, you get an added hour a day to plunge into things you love - arts, cooking, reading, music, whatever and wherever your heart desires... No tears, no sweat, no rigorous timetables, or losing focus from other leisure pursuits. 😉
#5 Physical activity breaks can school you to kick the habit
These fun exercise breaks, given enough time, become habits too.
Sticking to physical activity routines leaves less time and will to drench yourself in no-no habits. Smoking or doom-scrolling just becomes harder because something better takes its place. Snacking late at night becomes less luring when there's a nice workout before bed routine to fill up the blanks.
Very recently, we crafted a science-backed write-up that goes into detail on how to enforce better habits. If you’re looking to get rid of irksome I-did-it-again relapses, we urge you to read through this habit-building plan. It could really help you - but this time for real, for real!
#6 Studies show they nurture your mental health
"To me, if life boils down to one thing, it's movement. To live is to keep moving." - Jerry Seinfeld
Well, would you ever imagine Seinfeld advocating the movement culture? We know we wouldn’t. But, there’s truth in what he said, and it holds water on multiple levels.
Research papers prove - time and time again - that Jerry is spot on. Physical activity and movement are apostles of mental well-being. A study carried out by Better Health confirms that staying active boosts mental and emotional well-being. So much it instills a positive outlook on life deep into your core - which in turn alters your life choices and keeps you away from making silly ones.
Also, in this study [View Google Scholar library]researchers found that classroom physical activity interventions in school were beneficial for cognition and well-being. Like, a whole lot more when compared with other pleasurable activities students did at school. And benefits are not just tied to classroom-based physical activity - it's found in a range of other focus-intensive environments. Plus, PreK kids, teens, adults, and people of all ages will love them as much as those students did!
If you need brain break ideas and some Einstein thinking levels, look no further than Wakeout.
#7 Physical activity breaks can cheer on new ideas
Speaking of Einstein and quotes…
Albert Einstein once said “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
And it applies perfectly here.
Don’t try to squeeze more of your already juiced-out creativity. If you maxed it out, you maxed it out. Going further will only feel like getting blood out of a stone. Your brain will slap you so hard that doing laundry will feel like astrophysics. What you need is activity cognition.
In our piece about creativity boosters, we share solid proof of why exercise break activities are perfect creativity sparks - for artists, creatives, and students alike. They can help your brain breathe and, if need be, turn it into a verbal working memory machine. They also stop misleading clues from building up during uninterrupted work.
Feel free to read more about it, or even better, start your daily break routine and do some advanced research. You’ll be in for a ton of amazing benefits. Probably some fun too!
Bonus Article for Parents: Have Sassy Times With Your Children!
Here's yet another benefit for parents (and youngsters alike)!
First, raise your right-hand pinky if you operate from home at least once a week! Now, raise the forefinger (same hand) if you think your kid could use some extra mommy/daddy time at home.
Finally, pull your right hand up if you think your kids would love sharing the move grooves with you!
Gotcha! Rock away!
Now, on a more serious note...
In US, physical inactivity in children is becoming a public health concern. Adults, and youth alike (observational learning), are becoming sedentary. The down-spiraling trends are leading to higher obesity rates, cardiovascular problems, and diabetes. Regular physical activity counters the issue. It decreases the risk of early childhood obesity and chronic diseases that come along.
Moreover, recent studies suggest that bodily drills give a boost to cognitive performance in younger population. Executive function, metacognition, memory, overall brain performance, you name it. Just imagine the results in your diligent little students...[Google Schollar article] [Article Google Scholar search]
To reverse these adverse effects, we think your children and you should bop along some shared activities. Oh, kiddies - especially toddlers - love to add weight to your workouts. You should try it out and guide them toward a healthy lifestyle. They'll love the extra effort you're making to catch up with their energy surplus.
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