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Adding Recess to the Workday Gains Backers
Date:9/28/2010

ta Ana, Calif. Many of the 55 workers there participate in a 20-minute walk every other day and daily 15-minute aerobics classes, said Alejandro Espinoza, the group's chronic disease program coordinator.

The benefits have been terrific, he said. Workers feel more energetic and focused and are less likely to feel lethargic in the afternoon.

"They look forward to it," he said. "I'm one of the exercise team leaders. They come and tell me, 'Alex, it's time to do our exercise.' "

Businesses in Japan have been doing this sort of thing for years, but Kleinfelter said it's been tough to sell Americans on the idea of doing jumping jacks and other calisthenics.

Enter a program called "Instant Recess," developed by Dr. Antronette K. Yancey, a professor in the department of health services at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health and co-director of the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity.

"Instant Recess sounds just like we want it to be -- something that can be done by anybody at any time in any attire," Yancey said.

The 10-minute Instant Recess programs feature different sets of moves taken from dance and sports and performed to music.

"They are crafted to be moves that anyone can do," Yancey said. "We have a set of specifications that try to keep this something that a person who is sedentary or overweight can do fairly easily."

A lot of the moves are similar to sports, she said. One, called the "Heisman move," has participants replicate the move featured on the Heisman trophy, awarded each year to the top collegiate football player. Another, called the "tipoff," is a squat-and-jump move much like what basketball players do during the opening tipoff of a game.

"I found that eye-rolling occurs mostly at the beginning," Yancey said. "People aren't sure what to expect, and it seems a little hokey. What happens is people, after the first few minutes, start smiling, start laughing,
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