Corporate Wellness

Taking Active Breaks At Work: Productivity Fix

A work routine with active breaks is crucial to help you perform well and avoid pain caused by incorrect posture. Make your workday pain-free with these tips.

By Namami
16 Jan 2023

Remember how you feel when you are determined to complete a task? That goal-oriented, can't-take-a-day-off motivation? You are charged to meet your objectives for the day but it can be a disappointment when a headache or a back pain gets in the way.

In moments of crunch time, when you have to deliver, consider taking an active break from work. Planning active breaks into your day can do wonders for your productivity. In fact, research has shown that those who are physically active during the day tend to be more productive at work.


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What Do We Mean By Active Breaks?

We spend most of our workdays at our desks, sitting in front of our laptops. In a 2020 study of Worldwide Surveillance of Self Reporting Sitting Time by BioMed Central (USA) found that the number of hours we spend daily sitting is equivalent to 4-5 hours across all countries. Higher-income countries recorded a longer duration of sitting time.

A well-planned active break can not only help you overcome a creative block, it can improve your problem-solving skills by allowing you to review an issue from a new perspective. An active break can be as easy as a 5-minute walk with your colleague or a few minutes of stretches.


Are Active Breaks Different From Passive Breaks?

Active rest shouldn’t be intense. Active recovery allows you to feel like you are training your body while giving it a chance to recover .

Passive rest—think lounging while sipping coffee or scrolling through your phone to recharge—can be more exhausting, especially when you are experiencing screen fatigue. Cybersickness is real and can cause fatigue, making you feel dizzy and nauseaous.

Active rest—or a low-intensity activity, such as walking or stretching—allows you to keep up your fitness momentum and promote better recovery from screen fatigues or sitting all day.


Related story: How To Avoid Burnout: Signs, Symptoms And How To Spot It Early


How To Take Active Breaks From Work?

Get moving and take an active break with these simple and easy steps you can take from work hours:

1. Walking And Stair Climbing

Take periodic breaks from your work and go for a short walk. Hosting walking meetings or considering periodic walks till transit stops can help you burn more calories. Over time, try increasing your distances by walking around in the office to relax your tight muscles. Studies suggest that taking the stairs instead of an elevator reduces the risk of stroke and improves cardiovascular fitness by reducing cholesterol levels and improving muscular strength.


Related Story: The Many Powerful Benefits Of Walking Every Day


2. Reduce Your Screen Time

Increased screen time can affect your eyes: it results in dry eyes, headaches, and blurred vissions. Studies have shown that the blue light from the screen damages retinal cells. If you have a desk job that requires you to stare at your screen for too long, apply the 20-20-20 rule. This simple rule can help with eye strain.

All you need to do is take a break every 20 minutes or so to look at an object about 20 feet for at least 20 seconds, allowing your eyes to relax from focusing on a bright screen close to you.


3. Do Easy Desk Stretching

Take a few minutes for some easy, natural stretching to stay active along the day. Do stretches several times a day at your desk or in a private area, such as a fitness space. If you go for a walk, include a few minutes for gentle stretching.


Related Story: Wellness Tips To Improve Your Mental Health At Work


4. Do Easy Workouts During Lunch

Choose a time that works for you— in the afternoon hours for example before work— select activities like foam rolling that you can do on your own time so it can become a regular part of your routine.

Relax your muscles with a foam roller to help you release lower muscle post workout. Roll out each of the following body parts for a full minute for 10 minutes: quadriceps, hamstrings, upper back, triceps, calves, inner thighs, outer thighs, and glutes. Spend as much time as you need with the foam roller on extra-sore or tight body regions.


Related story: Easy Guide To Releasing Stiffness With A Foam Roller


In case you don’t find space to use the floor, you can do standing stretches. Triceps Dips is a standing stretch that helps you to expand the motion for the entire body. This has been shown to be quite helpful in increasing the strength of the triceps, shoulders, and arms.


5. Meditating Or Pausing In A Conscious Way

Pause your activity for a few minutes and meditate. Take deep breaths and consider how your muscles relax and connect with your mind. Pause by asking yourself how you feel today and check your mental health. Allow your thoughts to flow and observe them mindfully without judging them. You can also notice your environment and concentrate on how objects seem, textures, or noises you hear. Simply put, make yourself feel awake.

Active breaks give your body time to recover and adapt to your work life better. Choose from these activities to get your muscles and blood working without exhausting you.


Related story: 5 Quick Desk Exercises For Ergonomic Stretching


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