I was saddened this week to hear of the premature death of Dr. Antronette “Toni” Yancey, a public health professor at UCLA. She was an inspiring scientist and health advocate who started a movement called “Instant Recess” which encourages people to take 10 minute exercise breaks at work, home, or wherever they are. Dr. Yancey believed that people will exercise more often if they can exercise anywhere, any time. Exercise doesn’t always have to be in long increments that can be challenging to fit into the daily routine. “Instant recess” is also a great way to reduce sitting time throughout the day, an important goal in its own right given recent research showing the health dangers of sitting for prolonged periods of time.
On the day we heard the news of Dr. Yancey’s passing, we decided to honor her on Twitter by tweeting instant recess breaks throughout our workdays. It was amazing. One tweeter pulled out her hula hoop, another took a dance break in her office, and others tweeted pictures of the scenery as they took a stroll outside at work. Then things got really zany when @DrKateWolin, a cancer epidemiologist at Loyola University Chicago, added the word “shame” in front of her tweet whenever her instant recess involved silly outdated music or a funny physical activity. Several “shame’ #instantrecess tweets followed including that of #plankaday co-founder, Mike Bauman (@mbfgmike) who decided to do the Macarena in his office. Post the video, Mike!
The next day we found ourselves wanting to continue and invite others to join. Now I invite you to join! Try to add #instantrecess to your day by picking any physical activity and doing it for even as little as 1 minute—could even be your #plankaday! It will add to your active time each day and give you a little jolt of energy in the middle of the day. And to make it even more fun, add a little shame! Follow the #instantrecess hashtag to check out the fun and creative ways that people are adding a little movement to their day. Thank you, Dr. Yancey. We will miss you but we will help keep your legacy alive.
Check out Dr. Yancey’s books and DVDs on Instant Recess.
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