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Try This: Take an Activity Break

Did you know that when you get your blood pumping through physical activity, more blood races to your brain, too? That's why taking quick activity breaks when you're tackling big projects is a great idea. Here are some things you can do when you take a break:

Stretch
Feel that tension in your neck, back, and shoulders? That's what hunching in front of a computer screen or over a desk will do. These simple stretching exercises will help.

  • Shoulder shrug. Slowly shrug your shoulders up toward your ears and hold them there for a few seconds. Relax them. Repeat a few times.
  • Neck release. Sit up straight and slowly turn your chin toward your left shoulder. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Then turn your chin toward your right shoulder and hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat.

Strike a Yoga Pose
Even if you've never done yoga before, you can master the cobra. Here's how to do this stretching exercise activity break:

  1. Lie with your belly on the floor.
  2. Place your hands under your shoulders with your palms down.
  3. Press your lower body into the floor.
  4. Inhale and straighten your arms to lift your chest up.
  5. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  6. Breathe slowly while you hold for up to 30 seconds.
  7. Release your shoulders.
  8. While exhaling, return flat to the floor.

Lace Up Your Sneakers
Being outside for an activity break can give you all kinds of new energy. Try these or think up your own.

  • Pound the pavement and see how far you can go in 10 minutes.
  • Do some jumping jacks in the parking lot or under the trees.
  • Do a few somersaults or cartwheels.
  • Play fetch with Fido.
  • Rake leaves, water plants, or sweep the sidewalk to get refreshed.

Move Indoors
Weather too bad for an outdoor break? Dark outside? Don't let that stop you.

  • Turn on your favorite music and make it an activity break by just dancing.
  • Do a headstand.
  • Run up and down the stairs.
  • Pace the floor as you count to 100 or sing.
  • De-clutter your room.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on February 12, 2014