No more waiting for that big (fitness) break

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association1 says that moderate to vigorous physical activity can help reduce health risks even if it’s done in short sessions. In other words, the sum of the parts is as beneficial as the whole. The collected efforts of six 10-minute intervals are equal to the value of a single hour. This is great news for employers.

The value of short breaks

Employers are evolving in their view of wellness strategy. Once considered a “nice to have,” a strong wellness strategy helps make a company an employer of choice. According to the National Business Group on Health, healthy employees are associated with positive business outcomes.2

HR organizations across the nation are expanding their well-being strategies. These programs are great. But when time is of the essence, leaders and managers face the challenge of meeting business goals while promoting a culture of wellness. It may be difficult to free up your workforce for an hour-long break. Finding less than 10 minutes seems attainable.

The nudges and cues in your culture and environment play a huge role in how employees engage with your well-being program. Offering a selection of meeting breaks that are under 10 minutes can be a great way to promote quick, healthy breaks and drive that culture of health.

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good

Take the notion that “sitting is the new smoking.” Could employers interrupt the sitting with a short well-being break? Meet your employees where they are, whether they’re sitting in a long training session, or attached to call center phones all day. Backed by the evidence that every minute counts, you have the ability to “walk the walk” of well-being and support a culture of health. We recognize that a 10-minute movement break is not the same as a 5-mile run. Yet we can also support the value of the 10-minute break and not allow perfect to be the enemy of good.

Learn more about ways to engage your employee population at work.


About the author:


Heather MacAyeal Hardy, CHC AADP

Director, Optum On-Site Health Promotion and Wellness Coaching, Prevention Solutions

Heather is certified health and wellness coach. She leads product innovation and engagement capabilities. On-site staff help our customers enhance their consumer health engagement and company culture. This helps employees take ownership of their health and make positive changes. In turn, this improves our client’s population health. Heather joined Optum on-site services in 2014. Prior to that, she served as a coach and health promotion specialist in the field. Her work with opioid awareness campaigns and corporate wellness strategy has earned her clients local and national recognition.

1 Saint-Maurice PF, Troiano RP, Matthews CE, Kraus WE. Moderate‐to‐vigorous physical activity and all‐cause mortality: Do bouts matter? Journal of the American Heart Association. March 22, 2018. Accessed March 30, 2018.

2 National Business Group on Health/Aon Hewitt/The Futures Company. The value of a culture of health in the workplace. The Consumer Health Mindset Study. 2017. Accessed April 2, 2018.

Leave a Reply