Photo credit - Lindsay McCardle
All through my formative years - elementary school and high school - I was extremely active on a daily basis. In elementary school, I walked 20 minutes to and from my house every day. I played sports/games at recess, repeated at lunch, did PE, and then walked home, where I typically played basketball out in the back lane. I also played soccer.
In high school, I also walked 20 minutes to and from my school, played basketball at recess, played basketball at lunch, did PE, and had a rugby practice or game after school most days.
In both cases, I had well over 2.5 hours (and often as much as 4 hours) a day of physical exercise, a lot of it at a moderate intensity and only some at "full speed ahead". Contrast that with my usual daily life now, which consists of driving places, coaching athletes, and sitting at a desk for 80% of my working day... before blasting out a crusher workout at 100% for 1-1.5 hours.
No wonder I have mobility issues, recovery issues, and am more injury prone than ever before in my life!
This is why I've started taking recess during the day. There's no bell, no rush of classmates (although a few co-workers join in), but the premise is the same. Get moving, do some light activity (usually a game of some sort), and refresh body and mind. I typically take a half hour each day to do this, which ends up giving me 2.5 hours more activity per work week than I was getting previously.
The results? Too early to tell from a physical standpoint but mentally it's done wonders. Now when I start losing focus while working, instead of going to the old standbys of youtube and facebook or nodding off at my desk, I go and grab a ball, a co-worker or two, and shoot some hoops or play outside.
If you're like me and most of your day is taken up by immobility, try taking a recess. Physical benefits aside, these breaks will help you re-focus on the good things in life like being outside on a beautiful day or spending time with friends.
Now, the next step is getting a building-wide bell every few hours...