"Instant Recess" Gets "Mouse Potatoes" Away From Their Desks

At least three days a week, sets of employees at UCLA Health participate in a short "Bruin Break" with dance music and easy workout moves. It's part of a growing nationwide initiative to incorporate more movement into the work day.

What's the Latest Development?

At least three days a week, UCLA Health employees from 10 departments meet for a 10-minute "Bruin Break" that involves workout moves "easy enough so that everyone can take part without changing clothes" set to energizing dance music. Participants at one recent event commented on its positive benefits. Administrative assistant Althea Nelson said she was motivated to join a gym because of Bruin Breaks, and physical therapist Jason Tanaka said the breaks give him "a mental, psychological lift." Ragini Gill, a wellness coordinator, examined the effects of the breaks in one department last year and noticed "a significant drop in sick time attributed to repetitive stress injuries." She wants to extend Bruin Breaks to all 15,000 UCLA Health employees.

What's the Big Idea?

The Bruin Break was inspired by Instant Recess, an initiative founded by UCLA public health professor Dr. Antronette Yancey to encourage companies and other organizations to build short activity periods into the work day. Yancey died of lung cancer earlier this year, but her ideas are spreading to hundreds of programs nationwide. With greater attention being paid to the harmful side effects of sedentary work, employers might want to consider going beyond simply recommending exercise to literally "walking the walk."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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