4 Benefits Of Active Pause At Work
Having a healthy lifestyle involves being physically active. A few health benefits can be seen immediately after physical activity, even if it is brief. Because of busy work schedules, lack of self-confidence, or cost-effectiveness constraints, getting physical activity into your daily routine can be challenging.
Long work hours and busy schedules with zero breaks can drain you mentally and physically.
In today's hustle culture, breaks have become things of luxury rather than necessity. As a result, there is a huge burnout and turnout. Every employee needs a break to unwind or catch a breath, and creating a good wellness program would cater to the same.
When it comes to a healthy lifestyle and well-being, pausing is one of the key steps toward it. Taking a pause, be it even for a minute, is necessary to refresh and think with a fresh perspective. It is a healthier way to deal with everyday challenges rather than making decisions in haste.
Did you know that taking an active pause or a mini break from work can help you to be more focused, awake, and happy? Let's discuss an active pause and how your body will thank you for taking a little break in between.
What Is An Active Pause At Work?
"Practice the pause, pause before judging, pause before assuming, pause before accusing, pause whenever you're about to react harshly. And you'll avoid doing and saying things you'll later regret.- Lori Deschene"
Active pauses at work are brief exercises or breaks you take during the day to refresh and revitalize your physical and mental performance. Exercise in any form is a stress reliever, and active breaks can help boost endorphins and distract you from your daily worries.
An active pause is a short break at work during which physical activity or mindful meditation is held every two hours of work or screen time. The intensity is not high during the sessions, and the duration is only 10 minutes or less. As part of these sessions, a series of movements activate your muscles and cardiovascular, respiratory, and cognitive systems.
Why Are Active Pauses Important?
"Give yourself permission to pause."- Unknown
Periodic breaks are important for your health; contrary to common opinion, they promote productivity, creativity, and energy among employees during working hours. Long working hours and a sedentary life can make them lethargic and sluggish. But active pauses can help to inspire and create a more positive outlook in employees.
The benefits of active pauses at work are multiple, and it goes beyond the square box advantages. It effectively reduces stress and anxiety at work and is a great remedy to prevent the atrophy of body muscles.
Let's take a closer look at how active breaks can benefit your physiological and psychological well-being -
1. Physiological Benefits
Improves sitting postures and routines
Relieves muscle and joint stiffness
Helps stimulate oxygen and blood circulation
Helps prevent headaches and visual fatigue
2. Psychological Benefits
Helps reduce stress and anxiety
Increases the ability to concentrate at work
Helps promote self-esteem
Promotes social integration
Inspires creativity at work
Benefits Of Taking Active Pauses At Work
"Taking a break can lead to breakthroughs." - Russell Eric Dobda
There are many benefits of incepting active pauses at work or introducing the concept of it at work as a part of your wellness program. Occupational wellness is essential and prevents occupational hazards in the workplace.
Apart from its ability to increase concentration and focus at work, it also encourages self-esteem and positivity among your employees. Active breaks at work further bridge the gap between your social interaction and create a sense of belonging in the workplace.
Further, active pauses also generate organizational benefits. The program promotes both mental and physical wellness among employees and employers, and it improves adaption to your job profile and improves your employees' qualitative and quantitative performance.
Here are some of the benefits of incorporating active pauses in your workplace wellness culture -
1. It Helps Prevent Visual Fatigue.
"If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit." ~ Banksy
One of the most common health problems among workers who sit in front of the screen for a long time is experiencing visual fatigue and headaches. It is caused by reduced blinking due to the continuous concentration required to read documents or long exposure to screen time. It further leads to headaches and ocular dryness. To prevent you from becoming visually stressed at work, you can practice active breaks between your work shifts as it barely requires any time or space.
Here are a few exercises you can do to avoid eye strain at work-
Blink several times a day.
Gently cover your eyes with your hand and move your eyes to the right. Hold your gaze for 5 secs and bring it back to the center.
The movement of your eyes should be smooth and slow.
Repeat it 3 times.
Suggested Read : Vision Wellness - Maintaining Eye Health at Work
2. It Helps Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
"Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states." ~Carol Welch
Workplace ergonomics plays a key role in employees’ health and wellness.The most common reason behind an employee's poor health or posture is their sedentary lifestyle.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is an occupational disease affecting almost 30% of employees annually.
It is characterized by pain in the carpal tunnel area that joins the forearm and the hand through which nerves, veins, and tendons cross. It is generally caused by manual activities that require an apprehension or movement of the fingers, often opening or closing, such as when using computers.
However, exercising or stretching can help you keep fit and cope better with working long hours. Implementing short, active breaks in your daily lifestyle is important to help relieve muscle tension.
Here are a few offices stretches and exercises that you can practice at work to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome -
Hold your arm straight out in front of you.
Ensure your wrist and hand are straight, and your palm is facing down.
Try to bend your wrist down and stretch it with your other hand.
Hold it for 15-30 secs.
Now return to rest and face your wrist up.
Stretch it upwards and hold it for 15- 30 seconds.
Repeat it 10 times every day.
Suggested Read : 20 Desk Exercises That Help To Boost Employee Health
3. It Helps Improve Physical Posture.
"Stretching exercises promote flexibility, so you move fluidly." -Denise Austin
A sedentary lifestyle can cause many health issues, both physical and mental. One of the most common health concerns among employees who spend almost 8-12hrs at work sitting is either suffering from neck or back pain due to poor physical posture. Back pain is frequent as it is caused by sitting or poor movement of your body throughout the day.
However, a few physical activities in your active pause can help you clear your musculature and improve your posture by relieving stress. Here are a few office exercises that you can practice at work to improve your posture -
Try to massage the upper region of your back and posterior neck muscle with the help of both your hands.
Try to do it for 15 seconds.
Now bend your head and gently touch your chest with your chin.
Now push your chin to the right side for 10 seconds and to the left for 10 seconds.
Repeat this exercise 3 times each day.
4. It Helps Reduce Stress.
“Pause, breathe and smile. Anything that adds to your stress is likely not worth pursuing.”
― Majid Kazmi
Workplace stress is inevitable. Everyone experiences some form of stress almost every day, and unmanaged stress can negatively impact your mental health. Stress can be detrimental to your health.
Although human bodies are naturally made to react to stress with the fight or flight response, still prolonged stress can cause a harmful effect on your body and mind. It can cause burnout, mood swings, and even mental exhaustion if not managed. But you can prevent many of the harmful effects of stress by simply pausing.
When stressed or overwhelmed at work, take a short break and focus on your breathwork. It will immediately help you calm down and be more productive. Here are a few ways you can utilize your active breaks to help you relieve stress at work -
Take a deep breath and pause. It evokes a relaxation response.
When you inhale and exhale, the air fills your lungs and encourages full oxygen exchange in your body.
Try to take 10 deep breaths every day between work. It helps to lower blood pressure and destress.
You can also practice mindfulness meditation at work. During your break, you can plug in any mindfulness session in health apps like Vantage Fit, which offers a variety of 5 to 12-minute sessions.
You can make the best of your active pause to reduce stress simply by taking a brisk walk. Walking even for 5-10 minutes can help trigger the release of endorphins, a feel-good hormone in your body.
Summing It Up
"Time will always continue to flow and it is important that we stop to take a deep breath and allow our minds to breathe as well.- Anonymous"
Therefore, physical activity at work contributes to the well-being of your employees. It is important that your workplace culture encourages more movement and breaks throughout the day in order to promote a healthy workforce and increase productivity.
It is beneficial for both you and your organization to encourage your employees to take active pauses while they are at work. As it helps them to pause and revatilize their energy and refresh their mind.
I hope this article helped you understand and get an insight to what active pause is and how it can benefit you and your employees.
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