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How to Take Fitness Breaks at Work

January 12, 2021 / Employee Wellbeing Best Practices

Written By: Jordan Dunne

In the past year, you and your employees have likely spent more time at home than ever before and less time exercising. While every state’s restrictions look a bit different, many gyms were closed for a period of time or remain closed, leaving us to either get creative with our fitness routines or put exercise on the backburner.

After the challenges the world faced in 2020 and continues to face in 2021 as we wait for the COVID-19 vaccine to become readily available, concerns with physical health and the associated risk of chronic disease are coupled with limited motivation and resources to achieve personal goals this year. What this means for your organization is that in a time when the health of your employees is critical, they’re likely struggling to prioritize self-care and wellbeing.

Got four seconds? Great, because the good news is, according to a recent study, that’s all the time you need to improve your health!

Studies like this, which show that four seconds of vigorous exercise is enough to make a difference, empower us to make gradual small changes that over time will lead to big results.

The beginning of a new year is a popular time to take the initiative to better personal health. Year after year, even amid an ongoing pandemic, the most common New Year’s resolutions focus on increasing physical activity, eating a more nutritious diet and saving money. But as many of your employees enter 2021 with tight budgets, limited resources and a lack of free time, it’s easy for them to feel overwhelmed and confused about where to start.

Whatever the health goals your employees have for the new year, adding in a little movement can put everyone on the path to success. After all, exercise isn’t just good for cardiovascular health and weight loss; it’s also great for mental health, stress management, sleep, disease prevention and longevity. And you know what this means: higher productivity, lower absenteeism and decreased overall medical costs.

  • The 4-Second Workout – Recent research demonstrates that short (and we mean short—four seconds!) bursts of intense exercise performed once every hour over the span of eight hours can reverse the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle and reduce the risk of chronic disease. You can do anything for four seconds, right? Reap the benefits by setting a timer once an hour and time yourself as you run up a set of stairs, jog in place or do as many jumping jacks as you can in four seconds to get your heartrate up.
  • The 1-Minute Workout – Ready to up the ante? You can set aside as little as one minute a few times each day to get an effective, heart-pumping workout. Following the principals behind high-intensity interval training (HIIT), individuals can do more in less time by engaging in 20-30 second periods of max effort exercise coupled with 10-15 seconds of rest. That means you can get the same results in 10-25 minutes as you would by a 30-50 minute workout performed at a lower intensity.
  • The 7-Minute Workout – If you’ve got a little more time to dedicate to your fitness routine without using up your entire lunchbreak, try this popular science-backed workout. You’ll work in 30 seconds intervals allowing 10 seconds to transition between exercises, meaning you can complete a full body workout in just seven minutes. Of course, you can repeat the circuit if you’d like to build a longer workout or you can give the advanced version a go if you’re up for a challenge.
  • Exercise Dice – Randomize your at-home workout regime with our fun and interactive online tool designed to get you up and moving. We’ve even added some brief instructional videos to demonstrate the featured exercises as well as some additional moves to keep things interesting.
  • 30-Day Plank Challenge – Make fitness more fun and hold yourself accountable by committing to an exercise challenge. Planking is an effective bodyweight exercise for building core and back strength while increasing stability. You’ll start with a short 10 seconds of planking and by the end of the 30 days, the goal is to hold a five-minute plank.

Starting a new exercise routine doesn’t have to be intimidating, time-consuming or expensive. These exercises can all be performed in the comfort of one’s own home using nothing more than one’s own bodyweight – no gym membership or new equipment necessary.

No matter where your employees are on their fitness journey, inspiring them to make movement a part of the daily routine is important. Consistency is crucial. Encourage them to schedule regular exercise breaks throughout the workday. You might suggest setting a calendar reminder to get up and move every 45-60 minutes.

When it comes to building healthy habits, taking small steps is the key to sustainable lifestyle change. So, whether you’re committing to four seconds or sixty minutes, know that you’re on the path to a healthier, happier you in 2021 and beyond.

Looking to incorporate healthy habits into your employee engagement strategy? Help your employees Establish healthy new habits and build accountability with the help of one-on-one on-demand health coaching as part of your Homebase for Health™ wellbeing ecosystem. Request a demo today.

About The Author

Jordan Dunne is on the marketing team at Virgin Pulse, focusing on social strategy and health and wellbeing content. Outside of work, you can find her at the gym, hosting trivia, taking photos of food, or snuggling up on the couch with her dogs.

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