Movement Breaks Provide Bite-Sized Activity

Somehow, I don’t think I’m the only student who can say that since March 2020, I often find myself with an aching back and neck from sitting at my laptop for an unspeakable amount of time. With school online, getting out and about has become a bit more of a challenge - moving from place to place throughout the day just doesn’t happen naturally. Thankfully, the University of Toronto’s MoveU program, a tri-campus initiative encouraging brain breaks with physical activity, partnered with Assistant Professors Ananya Banerjee and Jackie Bender from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health in October of 2020 to help keep staying active less daunting. The result of this partnership is a series of guided roughly 3-minute videos ranging from stretching and mindfulness to aerobics and dance.

These short clips make getting activity in between classes or during a study session much more attainable. Just think about it…follow along with five or six Movement Breaks over the course of the day, and you’re already at somewhere around 15 minutes of movement. Not only can physical activity be an effective brain break, it can also make your studying more productive. Consistent exercise stimulates brain cell growth, meaning taking a step away from the desk every now and then is actually better than staring at the computer without interruption.

Beyond the academic advantages to adding spurts of activity to your day, there are undeniable physical benefits, too. Considering the American Heart Association recommends at least 2.5 hours of heartrate-elevating activity per week, MoveU and Dalla Lana’s Classroom Movement Breaks videos have the capacity to be a great resource for getting to that 2.5 hour benchmark. All you’ve got to do is check the videos out!

Led by upbeat instructors who stress the importance of listening to your body, the movement breaks are easily adapted to all abilities and can be done from seated or standing positions. Though three minutes may not seem like much, the importance of getting in spurts of activity throughout the day really cannot be stressed enough. Of course, there isn’t always time for 60+ minute workout¾especially when midterms and finals roll around. So, when things get busy, despair not! Instead, turn to MoveU and Dalla Lana’s Movement Breaks as a way to make sure movement doesn’t get left your off your schedule when things start to get hectic.

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