What a Movement Break Can Do for Your Productivity

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What A Movement Break Can Do For Your Productivity

At CrossFit Renew, we understand the value of high-intensity workouts and the significant benefits they bring to your overall fitness. But maintaining peak performance and productivity extends beyond the gym. In our fast-paced, desk-bound world, we often find ourselves glued to our chairs, staring at screens for hours on end, hoping to power through our to-do lists. 


However, the key to boosting your productivity might not be working harder, but taking a break—specifically, a movement break. As I’ve been working from home these last few months since starting my Leadership Coaching business – LeadWell, I’ve seen firsthand how incorporating regular movement into the day can significantly enhance both mental and physical well-being, leading to heightened productivity.


The Science Behind Movement Breaks

Sitting for prolonged periods can lead to a host of health problems, including poor posture, reduced blood circulation, and increased risk of chronic diseases. More importantly for our topic, it can also cause mental fatigue, decreased focus, and lower productivity. Movement breaks counteract these effects by stimulating blood flow, oxygenating the brain, and releasing endorphins, which can improve mood and cognitive function.


A study by the University of Illinois found that brief diversions can dramatically improve focus and performance. When you step away from your work to move around, you give your brain a chance to reset, which can lead to new insights and a fresh perspective on the tasks at hand. Not sure what that looks like? Here are some applicable examples and actionable steps:


  1. Schedule Your Breaks: Just as you schedule your weekly WODs (Workout of the Day) at CrossFit Renew, plan your movement breaks throughout the day. Set a timer to remind yourself to stand up and move every hour. Even a five-minute walk around the office or some light stretching can make a big difference. Action Step: Use your phone or a desktop app to set hourly reminders for movement breaks. Apps like “Stretchly” or “Stand Up!” can be particularly useful.


  1. Desk Exercises: If stepping away from your workspace isn’t always feasible, incorporate some simple exercises you can do at/around your desk. Burpees, air squats, push-ups, and lunges are excellent ways to get your blood flowing without needing much space. Action Step: Choose three desk exercises and perform them during your breaks. For example, do 10 burpees, 10 air squats, 10 push-ups, and 10 lunges every hour, on the hour.


  1. Take Walking Meetings: Whenever possible, suggest walking meetings instead of the traditional sit-down kind. Walking meetings are not only great for incorporating movement into your day, but they can also stimulate more creative thinking and dynamic discussions. Action Step: Propose walking meetings for one-on-one discussions or small group brainstorms. Aim to have at least one walking meeting per day.


  1. Stretch It Out: Incorporate stretching into your breaks to relieve muscle tension and improve flexibility. Focus on areas that tend to get tight from prolonged sitting, such as the neck, shoulders, hips, and lower back. Action Step: Follow a simple stretching routine that targets key muscle groups. Spend two minutes every hour stretching your neck, shoulders, back, hips, and legs.


  1. Stand Up Desks: If you have the option, use a standing desk. Alternating between sitting and standing can reduce the negative impacts of prolonged sitting and keep your energy levels up. Action Step: If a standing desk isn’t an option, try to stand up during phone calls or while reading documents. Aim to stand for at least 10 minutes every hour.

The Bigger Picture: Cultivating a Culture of Movement

Creating a culture that values movement in the workplace can have far-reaching benefits. Encourage your colleagues or employees to take regular breaks and participate in physical activities. Organize group exercises or stretch sessions to build camaraderie and make movement a shared goal.


  1. Lead by Example: As a CrossFit trainer, I know the importance of leading by example. When others see you taking regular movement breaks and incorporating exercise into your day, they’re more likely to follow suit. Action Step: Be vocal about your movement breaks and invite others to join you. Share the benefits you’ve experienced and encourage a collective approach to regular movement.


  1. Promote Wellness Programs: Workplaces that promote wellness programs tend to have happier, healthier, and more productive employees. Advocate for wellness initiatives that include physical activities, such as group workouts, yoga sessions, or even step challenges. Action Step: If your workplace doesn’t have a wellness program, consider proposing one. Offer to organize a weekly group workout or a lunchtime walking club. CrossFit Renew would love to partner with you!

Incorporating movement breaks into your day is a simple yet powerful strategy to enhance your productivity. By scheduling breaks, performing desk exercises, taking walking meetings, using technology, stretching, and possibly using a standing desk, you can combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting and keep your mind and body energized. Remember, it’s not about finding time to exercise; it’s about making movement a regular part of your daily routine. Embrace the power of movement breaks and watch your productivity soar.


As members of CrossFit Renew, you already understand the importance of physical activity for your health. Now, apply that knowledge to your daily work routine and see how small, consistent movements can lead to big improvements in your productivity and well-being. We’re here for you and rooting you on, let us know how we can help. 


And as always, “Get your mind right!”


Coach Brett

Who wrote this post...

Brett Myles

Brett Myles

Brett, who’s been coaching at Renew since 2014, played sports throughout his adolescence, and has competitive baseball to thank for his shoulder problems. Being 6’4, Brett loves all the Tall Guy things: rowing, biking, wall-balls, and anything with a barbell. So it feels right to say that his favorite benchmark workout is Grace. In the gym, you’ll never find Brett not listening to rap music. Outside the gym, Brett loves to spend time at home with his lovely wife and three little kiddos, or wrangling other people’s kiddos as the Student Ministry Director at the Austin Stone Community Church.

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