You Gotta Move

Young Businesswoman Doing Leg Stretches at Desk

Clocking in at a little more than two and a half minutes, the Rolling Stones studio rendition of “You Gotta Move” just seems like a nifty number to motivate a microbreak for about the same length of time. Indeed, the twang from the electric slide-guitar accompaniment might inspire you to glide across the kitchen floor (if you’re working from home) and you don’t need to have moves like Jagger to strut your stuff with your head held high. Yeah, you gotta move regularly during the day to shake off the static posture blues and here’s why.

Minimal movement coupled with awkward posture, repetition, and excessive force creates insidious stress on the body. Prolonged static tasks such as sitting at a computer workstation or assembling widgets on a production line will eventually cause fatigue. Muscles tense, joints stiffen, flexibility diminishes, and a reduction in blood flow to the tired tissue ensues. In time, with more than one hit (to the body) from the deleterious effects of static loading, the risk of physical injury increases and will not fade away without ample recovery time. Counteracting this “fixed” condition can be achieved through multiple microbreaks. A loss control colleague, who worked with professional football players as a physical therapist, puts it perfectly, “Motion is lotion.” You don’t need to tell that to the Tin Man who breathed a big sigh of relief (aah!) as his raised, frozen-in-time, axe-wielding arm got oiled. He probably would have had the same reaction after hovering his hand over a mouse indefinitely.

It’s been said that the best posture is the next posture. Alternating often between a sitting and standing posture helps improve vascular circulation through increased cardiac contraction, thereby helping not to have a heart of stone, so to speak. This excited cardiovascular action, in turn, aids in the removal of metabolic waste from skeletal muscle and invites greater oxygen and nutrient delivery into it. Periodic stretching, targeting the parts of the body taxed the most from static stress, can be an invigorating experience and may even boost your productivity. And, of course, staying well hydrated will foster frequent bathroom breaks. This promotion of motion is especially important for the work-from-home person who may not stray too far from their workstation within the confines of their four walls. Just sat for sixty minutes on a Zoom meeting? Then get up and move for five minutes. In essence, sit for 60 move for 5.                

Curiously, in their early years the Stones sang about time being on their side but then later came to realize, as reflected in song, that time waits for no one. With age comes wisdom and a whole lot of rock ‘n’ roll to soothe your soul, in their case. So, what are you waiting for? Like a jumpin’ jack flash, frequent movement through microbreaks, well, dare I say - it’s a gas, gas, gas!

To shine a light on more ergonomics-related information, check out these MEMIC posts. One that’s particularly relevant to the importance of movement is The Workplace Is Dynamic, Don’t Be Left Sitting Still which features a colorful infographic on striking a happy balance between sitting and standing. Remember, to not get stuck between a rock and a hard place, it’s pretty obvious that you gotta move.

MEMIC Stretch Chart