Students Staff

20 July 2020

How often should I take breaks and what are the benefits?

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 2:41 pm

Our Workplace Wellbeing Manager, Stuart Henty, tells us more about the importance of taking regular breaks, especially when you are working at a computer for long periods of time.

Stuart Henty

Stuart Henty

Time away from your screen can be more difficult to manage when working remotely, with no commute nor the need to walk to attend meetings across campuses. This can result in long periods working in the same position, which could be detrimental to your health.

The NHS article Why we should sit less says that ‘Sitting for extended periods with no breaks or regular exercise is thought to slow the metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat’. Long periods of inactivity may contribute to or increase the risk of developing musculoskeletal or circulatory conditions such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

How often should I take breaks and what are the benefits?
The Health and Safety Executive recommend breaking up long spells of Display Screen Equipment (DSE) work with rest breaks of at least 5 minutes every hour or changes in activity. Setting alarms or reminders on your smart phone will help to remind you to take a break.

During these breaks, you could consider doing short activities, whether that is walking or similar light exercise, such as these examples kindly provided by Essex Sport and the NHS. We also offer additional lunchtime activities such as art and crafts with Wellbeing at the Hex, as well as weekly healthy back and yoga sessions.

Making time for regular short breaks to concentrate on non-work activity will not only provide physical health benefits, but can also help with your mental wellbeing. This time can be used to manage feelings of stress through mindfulness exercises and allow you to return to a task refreshed, which can lead to being more productive and focused during your working day.

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