Do you remember recess? I do! I do! I do!
Before I get all into recess, let me point out the connection between Meatless Monday and recess…they are both good for you :).
While I was looking on the Meatless Monday site for a new recipe to try, I saw the following link to a New York Times’ article: It’s Time for Recess: Just Keep Moving. I couldn’t resist following a link with that title, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The article is about how most everyone (if you live on this planet, even part-time) knows you need to get 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day to be healthy. Yet, only 5% of the people have bought into this idea. According to Dr. Toni Yancey, a professor of health services at UCLA:
“Being sedentary is the norm in America,”…thanks to the plethora of labor-saving devices and motorized vehicles, we now “spend most of our waking time sitting, reclining or lying down.”
“Even activities that we still do regularly demand less exertion”…“And the less people have to do, the more quickly they get tired when they exert themselves just a little bit, which of course discourages them from exercising.”
Dr. Yancey has come up with a great idea to counteract our sedentary behavior: “Instant Recess”. In her book of the same title she shows us how taking two 10-minute breaks during our work day to share and enjoy a communal activity with others can be sooooooo beneficial.
I love the idea of recess during the work day! Thinking of telling everyone in my office, “Put your pencils down and your computers to sleep, it’s time for recess”, makes me smile.
Do you remember playing on the monkey bars? Playing marbles? Red Rover? Hopscotch (you all know I have a thing for hop scotch even now)? If you have forgotten just how much fun recess can be, I gathered some pictures to help remind you.
Instead of structured exercise breaks, Dr. Yancey advocates: “gathering groups of people to take a brisk walk around the grounds for 10 minutes twice a day.” I think the shorter, less intense nature of the kind of recess breaks Dr. Yancey is advocating, makes it easier for more people to join in.
I tried a version of “recess” last year with a Basement Boot Camp Workout, but quickly realized that a high intensity workout during the day is difficult in terms of time. We needed time to get dressed for the activity, time (45-60 minutes) to do the activity, and then time to get redressed. It was hard to give up this much time in the middle of a very busy day and also difficult to go from sweating profusely, getting redressed in “office attire”, and jumping right back into meetings, while, at least in my case, continuing to sweat.
Anyway, I love Dr. Yancey’s idea. I hope you will read the article and pick up her book and think about implementing “recess” at your workplace, school, or wherever people gather. As Dr. Yancey states in the article: “What’s good for the waistline is good for the bottom line.”
P.S. I am really into this “Instant Recess” thing. Take the poll below and let us know by commenting on this post that you have taken the poll and your name will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of “Instant Recess”!
If I have left any of your favorite activities out on the poll tell us what you loved to do at recess in your comments :).