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WOW Fitness has created this blog so that we can communicate with you in a fun and personal manner with a variety of subjects from fitness techniques to new products on the market to funny and interesting things we come across in our daily exercise lives. We'll try to keep it light hearted and informative... please feel free to make comments regarding our posts and indeed any thoughts you may have on the subject in discussion. In the meantime we hope you enjoy reading our posts, and be sure to bookmark this page for quick and easy access.
WOW Fitness Team

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Take a Break - Work, Health & Wellbeing...

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes… including you” Anne Lamott

WOW FactI know you don’t want to take a break right now. WHY? because you’re too busy. This article is probably one of more than a few tabs you have open on your browser or phone. Your to-do list is likely close by and packed with tasks.

It may seem like a good idea to avoid taking a break from work in order to make yourself look like a hard worker, committed to the needs of the company, but this can create a workplace expectation or normalisation of not taking breaks, which puts pressure on others not to take their breaks as well.

Why are breaks so important?
It can be tempting to keep working through a break, to eat lunch at your desk, or even skip it completely, if you have to get something done. However your body needs a break, and not taking one can lead to exhaustion and anxiety, and cause your performance to deteriorate as you struggle to concentrate. Over time this can lead to sleep problems and long-term health conditions such as depression.
Make sure that your break is a break from work, not just a break from your desk - try not to discuss work matters with people, don't take paper work with you, and most importantly do something you enjoy. It's your break and your treat.
WOW Fact - It is important that people take their breaks, and spend at least 20 minutes uninterrupted by work matters. If you work at a desk for long periods of time, it is also important to regularly get up and move around - for example, if someone works nearby walk to talk to them instead of emailing, or get up regularly to top up your drink from the water cooler.

Here are some WOW ideas for things you can do during your break that are beneficial for your physical and/or mental wellbeing:
  • Read a book - lots of people enjoy reading but say they never have time to do it. Take the time during your working day!
  • Go for a walk/run - get some fresh air and get yourself moving.
  • Do an exercise class - find somewhere nearby that offers lunchtime exercise classes. Some places do 20-30 minute classes.
  • Leave the staffroom/office - visit a cafe or an outdoor space.
  • Challenge your brain - with something different from work, such as a game app e.g candy crush, sudoku or crossword puzzle.
  • Be sociable - meet up with friends, join a lunch-time social club that meets once or twice a week, or start one yourself!
Health Risks of Not Taking Breaks
Sitting still for long periods of time, or doing repetitive tasks, can cause conditions such as back pain, eye strain, impaired circulation, tense muscles, tiredness and stress. Taking short breaks every hour or so, even for just a few minutes, can make a significant difference. Try to spend two minutes stretching, taking a short walk, getting a drink to keep yourself hydrated etc. every hour.
Sometimes we know there’s a better way to do things, but we’re just so busy we don’t even think we have the time to find it, so we keep going like we always have.
There are many health risks involved in not taking a break from work. Persistently long levels of working can lead to serious medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, stress related disease and repetitive strain injuries. Not only is this clearly not good for the worker, it also leads to a depleted and demoralised workforce. Breaks should be regarded as an important part of the working day, and with all the benefits attributed to them, it’s counter-productive to miss them…When you “get into the groove like you got to prove…” (think Madonna)  of a task or project, your ideas are flowing and you feel WOW! But it doesn’t last forever— you stretch yourself just a bit beyond that productivity zone and you might feel unfocused, zoned out or even irritable.
The good news is that the WOW fix for this unfocused condition is simple—all we need is a brief interruption (aka a break) to get back on track…
In a nutshell, breaks help us re-valuate our goals. If we didn’t give the body a rest at night, it wouldn’t function very long. The only time the mind can have a real rest is when it stops thinking and only experiences. The trouble is that, without any downtime to refresh and recharge, we’re less efficient, make more mistakes, and get less engaged with what we’re doing.
Though on occasion events do take place that can lead to working through breaks, if this happens on a regular or consistent basis it can have a detrimental effect on your performance at work as well as your health, enjoyment, fulfillment and your sense of job satisfaction.
Having regular breaks also allows for physical and mental rest to be taken. Numerous studies have shown that taking regular breaks helps to revive workers who are able to then perform at a more optimum level when they return to work.
When you work on a task continuously, it’s easy to lose focus and get lost in the space! In contrast, following a brief intermission, picking up where you left off forces you to take a few seconds to think globally about what you’re ultimately trying to achieve. It’s a practice that encourages us to stay mindful of our objectives… and as I say “perfect practice makes you perfect…” Now what that’s famous line, “Take a break, have a Kit Kat or is it puke a Penguin!”

Yours In Fun, Health, Fitness & Mental Wellbeing

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