Healthy at Work: 3 Benefits of Taking An Actual Break
Jennifer Harrison | My Body
How was yesterday’s lunch break? If you’re like most people, it was non-existent. We all need to take breaks, but only one-in-five people actually make it happen. First, it makes us more productive, because our brains use more energy than any other organ. They need breaks to recharge and fuel reativity. That said, here are three other reasons that real breaks are a really great idea.
Take a Break…for Your Body’s Benefit
The physical risks of not taking a break are staggering. 50 to 70 percent of people sit for a solid six or more hours a day, and the human body needs to move. Your neck, shoulders and back take a beating from prolonged sitting and hunching over a keyboard. Shoulders slump forward, and discs in your back can become squashed unevenly. Taking a break (ideally doing some stretches or even exercising) forces your body into a new position and gets your blood flowing, muscles working and helps your body feel better.
Set a timer and take a break. Stand or stretch hourly, or, when lunch hour hits, hit the pavement with a walk – even if it’s to have lunch away from the office. (Need more convincing? The average desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, making eating elsewhere a good idea for various reasons.)
Take a Break…for Your Brain’s Benefit
Research shows working in 90-minute intervals may be the best for your brain. Humans are not machines that work in linear fashion; we work in cycles and need breaks. When it comes to your lunch break, leave tech behind. New research shows that media multi-taking (typing on your laptop or computer while checking a text, for example) impacts brain structure, specifically gray matter, which controls thought processes and emotion.
Take a Break…for Your Soul to Soar
Step away from your desk and connect with co-workers. Work related activities (and topics!) are off limits but going out to lunch, taking a yoga class together, or bonding over a power walk can do wonders for your health. Feeling part of a community increases our emotional wellbeing and in turn can make us more productive.
Breaks are often where creativity and ideas materialize. Stepping into a new environment can offer a fresh perspective and give us room to think of new ideas or solutions when it comes to work. So take a break – your mind, body, soul (and career) will thank you.