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“Instant Recess” – A Way to Sneak Exercise into Your Day

April 2011

I’ve heard every excuse to avoid exercise, hey! I even wrote a book about it: “No If’s Ands or Butts – How to Turn the Top Ten Exercise Excuses into Fitness Triumphs”.

The #1 excuse is always “I don’t have time”.  Patients and survivors might add “I am too tired, too sick or too overwhelmed” to exercise.  I get it. These are common issues. 

Setting aside the ½ hour a day for structured exercise might sound daunting and even exhausting (and that’s just thinking about it!).

I bet, however, you can remember when you were 10 or 12 years old and recess was an escape from all that hard thinking in school?  A chance to play outside, perhaps in a quick game of dodge ball or sandlot football?

What about incorporating the thought of “instant recess” into your day?  That’s the title of a book by Dr. Toni Yancey, professor of health services at the University of California, Los Angeles, and also a different strategy for getting some serious exercise every day.

The idea is simple: At least twice a day, devote 10 minutes to some type of physical activity.  Take a brisk walk outside, do some in home marching, dance or lift a few weights- anything that gets your heart pumping a bit.

Three 10 minute “recess” breaks add up to 30 minutes of exercise, the amount the American Cancer Society recommend for a healthier lifestyle.

You’ll feel better physically and emotionally, and you’ll probably find yourself looking forward to “instant recess” instead of dreading “exercise”.

Check out Toni Yancey reciting h poem “Recapturing Recess” on YouTube:


Cancer Sensibility Foundation