We have been talking about practising good ergonomics in our past articles. Getting a proper ergonomic chair and table is just the beginning of an ergonomically friendly working lifestyle but is not the end solution. Ensuring that you take micro-breaks while working is what keeps you pain-free.
When we think of taking breaks while working, the first thing that comes to mind would be substantial breaks, such as lunch breaks or a 15-minute coffee break. However, spending long hours at your desk and only taking one or two “long” breaks is not ergonomically healthy, even with the right ergonomic furniture.
In this article, we will show you why incorporating micro-breaks is beneficial for you.
What is a micro-break?
A micro-break involves taking a voluntary, short break while working. Unlike your typical designated breaks, a micro-break can last anywhere from 30 seconds to about 5 minutes and involves anything, such as standing up and stretching or heading to the pantry for a quick refill of water.
Micro-breaks help to:
- Reduce a sedentary working lifestyle by getting your body to move periodically throughout the day.
- Break the monotony of repetitive movement or demanding work.
The benefits of taking micro-breaks
Studies have shown that incorporating micro-breaks offers 5 healthy ergonomics benefits.
Benefit #1: Improves productivity and focus
One of the key reasons why we recommend people consider getting ergonomic products is that they encourage healthy sitting postures, which ultimately leads to less pain, resulting in increased productivity and focus. Incorporating micro-breaks helps to take this healthy lifestyle to the next level.
Essentially, what micro-breaks do is that they prevent our brain from becoming too desensitised from working on the same activity for an extended time, allowing our brain to reengage in our work which helps to keep us focused and productive.
Benefit #2: Reduces stress
Stress is an unavoidable aspect of working life. Having a work routine that consists of consistent micro-breaks in between helps to lower heart rate, reducing stress. A reduced stress level also means fewer work-related mistakes. Next time you are feeling stressed, why not try taking a 30-second break to look outside your window or practise taking deep breaths? You will see how much difference it makes.
Benefit #3: Protects you against developing MSDs
Musculoskeletal Disorders, or MSDs, refer to injuries to the joints, nerves, or muscles in your body, typically caused by poor working ergonomics. Thus, for anybody working in an environment that requires an extended period of standing or sitting, the risk of developing MSD is higher. Hence, at a basic level, workplaces need to implement proper ergonomics practices. That means getting proper ergonomic furniture or accessories.
Taking micro-breaks, especially to stretch, is one of the key ways to avoid MSDs. The key areas where most people experience pain after prolonged periods of sitting or standing are the back, shoulders, and neck. Stretching those areas during your micro-breaks helps to bring blood circulation to those stagnant areas, reducing pain significantly.
Benefit #4: Reduces eye and neck strain
Headaches, reduced and blurry vision and dry eyes are some of the most common symptoms of modern working adults, who spend prolonged hours staring into their monitor or phone. Additionally, most also suffer from neck pain due to poor sitting postures, such as slouching. Hence, besides getting proper ergonomic furniture which helps to support proper sitting postures, taking micro-breaks to rest your eyes and stretch your neck helps to reduce eye and neck strains.
Benefit #5: Lowers risks of premature death
Last but not least, taking micro-breaks helps to extend your life. Sitting for prolonged periods, even with the use of ergonomic furniture, has an adverse effect on your life. Issues caused by a sedentary lifestyle, such as a drop in metabolic activity and the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, increase.
The only way to reduce such life-threatening issues is to break the sedentary lifestyle by taking micro-breaks and moving around.
Having a movement break at least once every hour helps to reduce work-related issues significantly and is a key ergonomic practice. Of course, incorporating other ergonomic practices, such as using an ergonomic chair or table, is crucial in reducing work-related issues.
If you are looking to improve ergonomics as well as ensure you take sufficient micro-breaks, why not consider TakeAseat’s VODE Electric Desk, which can be controlled with a mobile application called “Stand Up Pls” that also tracks your sedentary lifestyle, alerting you to take micro-breaks.