In honor of “Take Your Pants for a Walk Day” celebrated each year on July 27, here are your excuses to get up from your desk and take a walk around the office! Bonus points if your walk includes a scenic stroll outdoors.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, taking several breaks throughout the day of at least five minutes each can have significant health benefits. Examples of short breaks recommended by the CDC are:
- Take a short walk away from your workstation
- Stand up and stretch or walk in place at your desk without looking at your computer monitor
- Get out of your chair whenever you take phone calls at your desk
- Change positions at your workstation
- Have a drink of water or a light snack
Taking short breaks throughout the day isn’t just a quick way to clear your head – there’s science behind the reasoning as well! According to an article by Courtney Seiter, there are three scientific reasons that taking short breaks throughout the day is beneficial:
- Breaks keep us from getting bored
- Breaks help us retain information and make connections
- Breaks help us reevaluate our goals
In short, the human brain wasn’t built for the extended focus we ask of it these days. Our brains are vigilant all the time because they evolved to detect different changes to ensure our very survival. Therefore, focusing hard on one thing for a long time isn’t something we’re ever going to be great at.
If the reason you don’t take advantage of break time at work is because you feel guilty, consider this. A study of office workers and managers by Staples discovered that even though 66 percent of employees spend more than eight hours a day at work, more than a quarter of them don’t take a break other than lunch. One in five employee respondents said guilt was the reason they don’t step away from their workspaces.
The importance of taking breaks is explained further, by Tony Schwartz, head of New York City-based productivity consulting firm The Energy Project. “When demand in our lives intensifies, we tend to hunker down and push harder. The trouble is that, without any downtime to refresh and recharge, we’re less efficient, make more mistakes, and get less engaged with what we’re doing.
So, don’t forget to get away from your desk today and take your pants for a walk. You will ultimately be more successful and more productive at work – and your pants will thank you!