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Wayne Hurlbert

Posted 11/20/2010 

Blog Business World — Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a time, by Toni Yancey, MD, MPH

"The societal benefits of of physical activity cannot be fully realized until most people get moving", writes Professor in the Department of Health Services and Co-Director of UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, Toni Yancey, MD, MPH, in her inspirational and health transformational book Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time. The author presents a compelling case that a lack of physical activity is costing employers and the community money, time, and lost production due to the sedentary lifestyle of employees and the general public.

Toni Yancey offers a simple but highly effective solution to the declining physical fitness of the American population. The solution is the concept of instant recess. In the form of a brief, low impact group workout, suitable for everyone from children to adults, instant recess provides a fun and active way to improve physical fitness. The technique can be used anywhere, from workplaces, to community centers, to schools, to create an activity that fits into any busy schedule or program. For employers, instant recess fits well into the workplace, increasing fitness and activity levels of employees, while providing bottom line improvements as well. Toni Yancey shares research evidence that demonstrates how structured physical activity while at work results in a healthier and more productive workforce. With lower absentee rates and lower health care eosts, there are tangible benefits for the organization, at very little expenditure in terms of money and time.

Toni Yancey (photo left) shares some easy to incorporate fitness ideas, that any organizations can adopt, with no loss of time or cash outlay:

* Ten minute exercise breaks during meetings and regularly during the work day

* Use standing ovations as the standard for showing appreciation

* Post stair prompts and have managers lead in using the stairs

* Include fifty percent or more healthy food choices in machines and cafeterias

While these concepts provide fitness, at no cost to the organization, they also build teamwork, provide motivation for incorporating other changes into the company, and boost employee morale. The resulting productivity increase, from healthier and more engaged employees, benefits the company as well as the individual employees. Toni Yancey asserts, and with the backing of strong research, that the individual and company level fitness improvements translate as well to enhancement of the overall well being and quality of life in the larger community as well. The application of fun and easy group events not only builds bodies but it creates stronger social bonds as well, providing both tangible and unseen benefits for all.

For me, the power of the book is how Toni Yancey describes the benefits to individuals, organizations, and communities of a physically fit population. The author backs her concepts with the latest research into fitness and its relationship to health, productivity, and personal well being. Toni Yancey also provides an extensive reference section for further study. Along with the theoretical research and ideas, the author shares easy to organize group exercises, as well as initiatives that individuals can take on their own. For companies, the author provides evidence of benefits for productivity, employee job satisfaction, and the overall profitability resulting from a more engaged and healthier workforce.

Toni Yancey goes far beyond the usual nutritionally based advice for individuals and organizations. While she includes sections on healthy eating, the author emphasizes the importance of combining a balanced diet with regular, intense physical activity. Toni Yancey also shares methods for overcoming cultural objections to the concept of physical activity, and the value of instant recess as a means of clearing these cultural obstacles.

I highly recommend the practical and personally transformational book Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time by Toni Yancey, to any business, organizational, political, or community leaders seeking an easy and enjoyable method of increasing the overall physical fitness of their constituencies. As the book's subtitle points out, just ten minutes of physical activity per day will begin the transition from a sedentary population to one of improved health and energy levels. Everyone benefits from the added productivity and lowered health costs that result from an active and fit organization, community and nation.

Read the timely and essential book Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time by Toni Yancey, and begin the journey to better health and physical fitness in your business or community. Not only are the suggestions in the book easy and fun, but they build bonds between people that overcome barriers. Everyone loved recess while at school. The idea of instant recess should prove effective and enjoyable for everyone as well

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