How to Optimize Your Workout Routine and Feel Your Best with Microbreaks
Workdays for many people are busy, and coming home, or logging off for the day, often entails running any necessary errands before making dinner and winding down for the night. This does not leave much room for exercise and movement during the workweek. However, the human body was not designed for such long periods of inactivity, and there are documented risks of having a desk job.
Some of the risks of long periods of prolonged inactivity include the following:
- Increased blood pressure
- Excess body fat
- Poor posture
- Eye strain
- Muscle atrophy
Too much compression, like staying seated for eight to ten hours daily, Monday – Friday, can also impact blood flow, impinge nerves, and injure soft tissue. To put it plainly, inactivity can manifest into painful health issues.
The good news is that while there are documented risks of the impact of too much inactivity, there are things you can do to break up your day and give your body the movement it needs.
It takes 30 minutes of physical activity a day to counteract the effects of sitting. The World Health Organization recommends moderate-intensity physical activity for 150 to 300 minutes per week or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise. This breaks down to 20 to 45 minutes per day of moderate activity or 10 to 20 minutes each day of vigorous exercise.
This movement doesn’t have to be done all at once. It can take place over an entire workday in the form of microbreaks. A microbreak is a short and voluntary break you take from work that typically lasts anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. It is recommended that you take a microbreak every 30 – 60 minutes.
If you worked the typical 8-hour workday and were to get up and take a 5-minute walk around the office or your home/neighborhood once an hour, that would add up to 40 minutes of physical activity per day. That adds up to 200 minutes of exercise between Monday to Friday.
Microbreaks don’t have to always mean taking a walk. Some other ideas include:
- Getting up to fill your water bottle on a different floor.
- Standing up each time you take a drink of water.
- Take some belly breaths.
- Look out the window for 60 seconds.
- Stand up each hour.
- Work out on your lunch break.
- Have a walking meeting.
- Wake up 15 minutes earlier to get movement in before the day.
The bottom line of microbreaks is that movement doesn’t have to be a significant time commitment. It can be as simple as taking a 5-minute walk five times a day or stretching every few hours. But the commitment to taking care of yourself should still be there.
The Benefits of Microbreaks
Microbreaks may not sound like a lot, but they have mighty benefits. Finding small pockets of movement throughout the day can increase productivity, boost energy, and reduce aches, pains, and stress.
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