Here are just a few solid reasons...
1. They reduce stiffness and tension in your body from being “sedentary” i.e. not moving, or in one position for a period of time like sitting or standing at your desk, driving, even resting on your couch
2. It increases productivity! (not sure about this one? check out the Pomodoro technique, it’s real thing!)
3. Physical movement can get you out of the stress cycle, even if the actual stressor isn’t going away! (helloooo covid!) Here’s a great podcast on that topic. brenebrown.com/podcast/brene-with-emily-and-amelia-nagoski-on-burnout-and-how-to-complete-the-stress-cycle/
According to the Pomodoro method, it’s ideal to take a 5 minute break after every 25 minute block of work and then after about 4 of those cycles you take a full 15-20 minute break. There’s loads of free apps that you can set the timers on, I just use the timer in my phone.
I encourage you to play around with that timing to make it work for you! Depending on the day, the task, and my focus I might need to do longer or shorter work periods and/or breaks.
The important thing is to actually take the (relatively) frequent movement breaks!
5 easy & free ways to take a movement break
1. Make a list of small, short mindless tasks that take 5 minutes or less that require getting up, changing where your eyes are focusing, and moving around.
2. Try some HIIT style intervals using simple movements like Squats, Jumping Jacks, or Leg Kicks for 30 seconds then 10 seconds of walking or marching in place. In 5 minutes, you should be able to get through about 7 cycles with a short cool down. (don’t forget to hydrate!)
3. Do a standing version of the hundred series breaths. Pulse your arms with each breath as you inhale for 5 breaths and exhale for 5 breaths. Try lifting one foot off for the the first half, then the other for the second half.
4. Have a dance party! Play a song you love and get dancing…or at least away from your desk and moving your body.
5. Do my neck & shoulder video on you tube. If you’ve been sitting, try it standing. If you’ve been standing, try it seated!
or keep trying different ideas until you find your faves!
I promise you’ll feel better on so many levels and your body will love you for it.
I’d love to hear how it goes! (email me)
The Hundred Series is a classical Pilates exercise that is designed to warm up the body on many levels. It is named the Hundred Series because it is designed to include 100 breaths and/or arms pulses. Breathing and Coordination are key Pilates Principles. (click here for more info)
When done in the traditional manner it increases our body temperature, activates the whole body, and increases our breathing capacity. It is often regarded as a bit detoxifying because the breathing pattern pushes all the old air out and draws new, fresh air in. You are warming up and releasing tension in your intercostal muscles, which can get very gluey and tight due to our everyday movements.
Want to learn more about breathing? click here
In my group classes and private lessons, I often modify the form of this traditional exercise in order to focus on the breathing pattern. We also usually start with some building blocks of breath work and arm activation to ensure our most successful attempt at the full exercise.
Want to get better at the breathing pattern?
Just like anything else, the best way to improve or get more comfortable is to practice it more often than you might see me.
Here are some tips:
-Start with a gentle warm up, get moving and breathing. Try to focus on your full body awareness and coordination.
Pick a position to try the Hundred breathing pattern. If you have been sitting all day, I suggest trying it standing up! You can play around with hand placement, it may give you some extra awareness and therefore success if you have a hand or two on your sternum or at the base of your ribcage.
How did it go?
Please feel free to comment or ask questions below.
If you are interested in trying some private lessons or need some guidance on cultivate a way to have Pilates in your life, click here to contact me directly.