Dr. Kristen Mitteness
Increasing Productivity with Microbreaks
Have you heard that sitting in the new smoking? Hours spent at a desk in front of a computer is wreaking havoc on our bodies. We all know that moving and being active during our work day is better than prolonged sitting, but it doesn’t have to be a chore or inhibit our work. Let me introduce you to microbreaks.
A microbreak is just what it sounds like; a short period of time away from your work. It can be as simple as standing up and stretching your arms overhead or taking a short walk outside to breathe in some fresh air. It should take less than 5 minutes and should be implemented as frequently as every 30 minutes, but at the very least, every 60 minutes.
Regular movement in the form of microbreaks not only keeps your body healthy by increasing blood flow, moving joints and increasing nervous system stimulation, it will also keep your brain sharp by allowing it to briefly refocus. Moving your eyes away from the computer screen keeps them from fatiguing. Remember sitting in class? We lose focus and the ability to retain and process information after an hour or less depending on the person and situation. When your brain and eyes get frequent short breaks, your productivity increases during your actual working time.
Set a timer to go off every 30-60 minutes and choose to do 1-3 of the following on your next microbreak:
Walk around the block
Walk up and down a few flights of stairs
20 jumping jacks
5 mini back bends with arms stretched overhead
30 seconds of marching in place
10 toe raises
Any form of stretching for the length of 5 deep breaths
Doorway chest stretch
Quad and hamstring stretches
30 second plank
The movements you decide to implement during your microbreaks are truly endless. Find something you like doing, feels good and refuels you. If you work with others, get them on board, too!