Faculty/Staff Wellness

Be Well at Work homedisability management servicesemployee assistanceelder careergonomicsoccupational healthwellnesswork life

Activity Breaks

Taking activity breaks during your day is an excellent way to keep your focus, prevent fatigue, and relieve body stiffness. The Be Well at Work Wellness Program provides several types of activity breaks to fit into your workday and to integrate into healthy meetings.

Breathing and Relaxation Breaks

Breathing or relaxation exercises can help you get rid of tension so you can focus on your work and tasks. Taking just a few minutes can reward you with renewed energy and engagement throughout your day. Begin by taking take several deep breaths to help you become more present and attentive and to let go of the distracting “chatter” in your mind.   

Refer to these other breathing exercises and guides to learn more:

  • Abdominal Breathing Technique
    This breathing technique can help create a feeling of calm composure, renewed energy, and focus. With one hand on the chest and the other on the belly, take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the diaphragm (not the chest) inflates with enough air to create a stretch in the lungs. The goal: 6-10 deep, slow breaths per minute for 3 minutes.

Instant Recess Activity Breaks

Instant Recess is a fun, low-impact activity for use as a physical activity break in the office or workspace, or at meetings and events that support group participation with simple calisthenic movements done to music. 

Music Selections for Instant Recess Activity Breaks

Songs that are upbeat, have a positive message, and are familiar to a lot of people. Access these songs using iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, or other favorite source.

  • Did I Hear You Say You Love Me: Stevie Wonder
  • New Attitude: Patti LaBelle
  • Wanna Be Startin’ Something: Michael Jackson
  • Moves Like Jagger: Maroon 5
  • Happy: Pharrell Williams
  • The Way You Make Me Feel: Michael Jackson
  • Say Hey (I Love You): Michael Franti
  • Uptown Funk: Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson
  • Move Your Body - Beyonce 

Standing Breaks

Research suggests prolonged sitting is wreaking havoc on our health. Excessive sitting is cited as a key risk factor in 4 of the top 7 killers: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers. After 20 minutes of sitting, our metabolism crawls to a halt resulting in lower HDL (the good cholesterol). To lower your risk, sit less, stand up more, and keep your body moving. Standing, for even short periods of time, also can increase focus, alertness, and productivity.

  • At least once an hour, stand up and move for 3-4 minutes. You can march in place, walk to the printer or restroom, walk down the hall and talk to a co-worker, or use a standing workstation.
  • See tips for alternating between standing and sitting at your computer workstation

Stretch Breaks

Stretch breaks help wake up the body and mind, increase blood circulation, and reduce tension and discomfort, all while restoring energy. Remember - only do what feels comfortable and stop immediately if anything hurts.

Walking or Power Breaks 

Adults should engage in moderate physical activity 150 minutes a week, which translates to 30 minutes a day, five days a week. These short and active workout options below can help add up to your 30 minutes per day.  

  • Walk with the Be Well at Work - Wellness Walking Group
  • Get the recommended 10,000 steps per day. Pedometers are available for purchase.
  • Wellness Adds Up -  Videos from UC Irvine provide different exercises that do not require any equipment, so you can get up, out, and do them anytime. 
  • Keep moving throughout the day -- take the stairs, take a lap around your building, park farther away.