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Companies Get Exercise at Instant Recess

Written by Beth Parker Beth Parker

July 15, 2010

Link to actual article

WASHINGTON - You’ve heard of a coffee break or a smoke break? Well, how about an exercise break? It’s an idea that was started by a California doctor and now D.C. is getting moving too.

At Summit Health Institute for Research and Education on L Street, the same thing happens every day at 1:05pm. It’s time for instant recess.

They’re a policy organization working to fight obesity.

They’re always telling other people, “Live healthy lifestyles, eat well and exercise. Now it’s an opportunity to prove to our friends and colleagues out in the field that we practice what we preach,” says Jenne Johns.

They’re doing that by becoming one of the first places in D.C. to adopt a short exercise break during the work day. But this vacation happens right in the middle of the office.

Canary Girardeau spent years as a community health nurse. She is 79 and loving instant recess. “Just a little bit of exercise, gets that blood moving through the system and gives it the oxygen it needs,” said Girardeau.

The folks who work here say some of the most interesting reactions they’ve gotten have come from people on the outside looking in.

“We kind of get double takes. Are you doing the Tootsie Roll or the funky chicken?” says Johns.

All kidding aside, the group’s co-founder Dr. Russell Davis says obesity is an epidemic in the U.S. He thinks instant recess is good for health and good for business.

“If we can keep our employees safer and healthier, the bottom-line makes all kinds of sense,” says Davis.

Employees say it’s definitely good for your heart. “It puts everybody in a good mood. It gets everybody together. You forget about whatever you were working on or worrying about,” says Doug Cousminer.

Employees say since the program started a few months ago they’re craving exercise - even when they’re not at work.

The one downside, some say, you have to spend a little more time figure out what shoes to wear to work.