Take Breaks From Your Desk: How Movement Breaks Increase Productivity

“Sit Less, Move More” is our mantra when creating healthy offices. We’re a big fan of standing desks, treadmill workstations, and standing meetings, which are proven to improve health and work performance. More recently, desk ellipticals have hit the market, and we’re excited to use them as a new way to avoid the sedentary office lifestyle.

But there’s an even easier way to improve your health and productivity at work: take breaks! Taking frequent breaks from sitting makes you healthier, but what’s more compelling is it also boosts your productivity. We recommend you never stay seated for more than 30 minutes without a short break. In fact, the popular productivity technique Pomodoro calls for intently focusing on a single task for 25 minutes and then taking a 5 minute break, even if you don’t feel like you need to. Last month, The Muse published their findings that the most productive people work for approximately 52 minutes straight and then take a 17 minute break. 17 minutes may seem like a long time to step away from your desk, but studies show that it works. You’re actually more productive—aka, you accomplish more work—when you take regular breaks.

What should you do on these breaks? MOVE, of course! Reading the news or checking Facebook doesn’t count as a break, and it won’t help improve your health or increase your productivity. In order for a break to be effective, you must activate your muscles and get your blood flowing faster. This signals to your brain that it’s time to energize and focus, so that when you return to your desk you’ll be ready to concentrate again. We recommend taking a five minute walk or several flights of stairs between working sessions.

Stay tuned for our next blog post, in which we share FitYourSpace’s very own Movement Break videos. Jake Koenig, our CEO, will lead you through movement routines you can do at the office. And if you’re reading this at your computer instead of working, it sounds like it’s time for a break! Get up and walk those stairs.

– Allison Whaley, Cofounder, Brand Strategist for FitYourSpace