“Above all else, breathe.”
That is a quote from Joseph H. Pilates, the man who invented a system of movement now popular around the world. Obviously, many ancient practices encourage breathing for meditation and health regulation. Joe integrated much ancient wisdom in his method. But we are only now as a Western society catching on to what has been known in the East for thousands of years.
Of course, Joe was also talking talking about MOVING while consciously breathing just as is done with yoga. You may not always be able to take a movement break — but you can take a breathing break anytime, anywhere.
“Above all else, breathe.”
There are some companies that INSIST workers take breathing breaks. It’s no surprise that they are among the most highly innovative companies.
Breathe: We did this at Google. We had them take their hands off their keyboards two minutes a day, and watch their breath go in and out. This raises accuracy rates. Improves levels of happiness. Drops their stress levels.
To those employers who refuse to let workers take a break outside for a breath of fresh air, you need to rethink your position. I recently came across such an employer who balked when an employee wanted to take a walk break and asked for some exercise devices for her desk. Dear employer: you’re being extremely short-sighted. Your employers are LESS productive the more chained to the desk they are. Study after study proves it. But don’t take my word for it, here’s what Harvard researchers say.
Exercise isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. A recent study that likened sitting as the new smoking is getting more people to sit up and take notice. Now hear this: The latest is that even if you workout before or after work, if you sit on your duff for hours on end — you are still at higher risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Being self-employed is no less stressful. It’s a constant self-imposed grind at times. But I know that if I don’t workout and take care of myself all else suffers including my ability to focus and help my clients.
So next time you’re feeling stressed and under massive deadline pressures — do the non intuitive thing — stop and BREATHE. Then STAND UP and move. March in place, do a few jumping jacks, twist your torso, do some side bends — just a minute or two will make a huge difference. Try this a few times throughout your day and see for yourself.
Then spread the word.
And if you want someone to come in to take your employees through a 25-minute exercise routine that counter balances the effects of sitting, there are plenty of trainers willing to come to your worksite to do just that. Myself included.