Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Adding Recess to the Workday Gains Backers

Programs to get adults up and moving may have business as well as personal rewards

Excerpt

TUESDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) — Think recess, and you’ll probably smile. What wasn’t to like about a break in the school day set aside for running and playing, for friends and fun?

Now fast-forward to your adult life. What if your workplace started offering recess on the job?

Some medical experts think it’s not only a good idea but possibly one of the most solid tactics dreamed up for getting an increasingly out-of-shape America up and moving.

Adult recess would involve a 10-minute break in the workday, when employees would be led through a series of fun routines involving dance and sports-like moves.

The idea may be catching on. Employer-sponsored exercise is a big part of the U.S. National Physical Activity Plan, a cooperative effort by a number of health and fitness organizations to promote physical activity in public settings such as businesses, schools and churches. Partners include the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Heart Association, the YMCA and the AARP.

“When we can build physical activity into an easy, achievable part of our day, it’s a lot less daunting for people,” said Allison Kleinfelter, a consultant with the National Physical Activity Plan. The program, she said, “is looking at changing places where we live and work to support physical activity.”

The benefit of adult recess hinges on physical activity guidelines put out by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which recommend that all adults receive at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, Kleinfelter said.

But a person doesn’t need to stack up those minutes during just a few sessions, according to the guidelines, because moderate or vigorous effort will benefit overall health even if each session is as short as 10 minutes.

One work site where adult recess has been implemented is Latino Health Access, a nonprofit group in Santa Ana, Calif. Many of the 55 workers there participate in a 20-minute walk every other day and daily 15-minute aerobics classes, said Alejandro Espinoza, the group’s chronic disease program coordinator.

The benefits have been terrific, he said. Workers feel more energetic and focused and are less likely to feel lethargic in the afternoon.

“They look forward to it,” he said. “I’m one of the exercise team leaders. They come and tell me, ‘Alex, it’s time to do our exercise.’ “

September 30, 2010 - Posted by | Consumer Health | , ,

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