New challenge encourages employees to give their breaks a “boost”

By on September 6, 2016

Join the “Booster Break” Challenge and commit to doing something good for yourself while creating a support network among you and your coworkers.

Research suggests taking breaks at work can have a positive impact on how you feel and perform at work, so why not make the effort to use your break time to its fullest?

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“Walkers” group (left to right): Reginald Pierre-Jean, Danny Downing, Erik Finlay, Sam Palmer, Adam Carr, Crystal Goodison

Gather your coworkers and create a booster break of your own to be entered to win lunch for your group! Here’s how to enter the drawing:

  1. Establish a regularly occurring booster break with colleagues in your area. See below for ideas and inspiration from your fellow employees.
  2. If you’re a UF employee planning physical activities for your group, visit the HRS website for guidelines on group fitness and activity programs, along with a waiver form for your group’s participants to complete.
  3. Submit the following to hrs-wellness@ufl.edu by Friday, Sept. 23, to be entered into a drawing to win lunch for your group (up to 20 group participants). Include the information below in your submission:
  • What? Describe the activities you engage in as a group.
  • When? Provide how often and at what time you meet (e.g., daily from 10:30-10:45 a.m., weekly from 3-3:10 p.m.).
  • Where? Tell us where your group meets.
  • How? Provide a picture of your group on break together.

Need some inspiration? Check out these groups already boosting their workdays together!

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Walkers building strength with a wall-squat

At the UF GeoPlan Center, the “Walkers” have a daily plan that includes more than just walking. Every day at 3 p.m., Sam Palmer, a GIS specialist who started the group, moves through the office calling all walkers. About half the office usually joins a 12-minute session that starts with climbing the four flights of stairs outside of their office, followed by four minutes of stretching and then a different core strengthening exercise each day. Palmer started the group four years ago after experiencing neck pain. A physical therapist recommended daily neck stretches, and Palmer asked others to join to help keep him motivated. Crystal Goodison, associate director for the GeoPlan Center, says of the daily routine, “It’s better than a cup of coffee.”

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The Cittups (left to right): Rodney Gammons, Stephen Carter, Michael Amish, Jeff Davis, Chris Pinkoson, Shannon Dunn

The “Cittups,” a group of UFIT instructional designers, began meeting almost three years ago. The original team of coworkers was awarded a UF Champion for Change award in 2014 for their efforts to “foster a working environment where everyone can look a little silly doing sets of squats and burpees in their office wear.” The group is still going strong, and the number of regular attendees has doubled. They meet twice a day – at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. – for a 10 to 15 minute video workout or a group walk. To learn more about how the group got started and their recommendations for quick online workouts, visit http://news.hr.ufl.edu/2015/02/campus-spotlight-the-cittups/.

In the administrative offices for the Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Regina Bussing, the department chair, often initiates a walking break two to three times a week. The group usually walks around their circle of cubicles from five to 10 minutes, sometimes to music. They chose to do this inside the office so that they were still available to answer the phones if needed. In this way, everyone could participate without missing a call.

At the UF Office of Human Resource Services, employees gather twice a week for a 15-minute stretch break to counterbalance hours at the computer. If you are a fellow desk dweller, watch and join along with this eight-minute stretching video, download a list of desk stretches provided by the Blue Zones Project or consider incorporating a bit of deskercise into your day.

Other ideas to consider

Your group break doesn’t have to involve physical activity. Consider setting up a work break table where you can house an on-going puzzle or game, craft supplies, or adult coloring books. It could even be as simple as making the commitment to gather and rest quietly or meditate for a set amount of time.

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