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Instant Recess

Instant Recess: Building a Fit Nation 10 Minutes at a Time

Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 1
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    Instant Recess
    Book Description:

    This lively, inspiring, and informative book zeroes in on the state of American fitness-persistently sedentary, plagued by obesity-and issues a clarion call to action that reaches across economic, racial, and educational lines. Toni Yancey finds that despite our best intentions and repeated resolutions to exercise, as well as a 40-year investment in fitness education and counseling, physical activity in all levels of society continues to plummet. In a warm, reader-friendly narrative that draws on solid scientific research, personal experience, and her own poetry, Yancey calls for a radically different approach: one that respects diversity and is grounded in the cultures of those most at risk.Instant Recessproposes regular ten-minute exercise breaks that utilize music and dance and are easily incorporated into school, work, and community life. Rather than encouraging unhealthful habits like cigarette breaks or high fat snacks, these "instant recesses" make the active choice the natural one. Here is a new paradigm for fitness and public health that promises vitality, well being, and a greater sense of community-demonstrating, as Yancey argues, that what's good for the waistline is good for the bottom line.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94721-4
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Abstract
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-21)

    To most people, Pixar′s animated movieWALL-Ewas about two robots trying to find love. But to me, a public health doc, it was a thinly veiled parable of the horrors that humans face if we don′t act immediately to solve one of the most pressing public health crises we′ve ever encountered.

    WALL-E′s world is the near future, in which robots have taken over all the mundane tasks we used to perform, and humans have evolved into fat blobs with atrophied arms and legs—inactive, unfit, and dangerously complacent and incurious.

    This being a Pixar movie, little WALL-E and his...

  7. ONE The High Price of a Sedentary America and the Challenge of Getting Society Moving
    (pp. 22-53)

    Unless trends change quickly, the current generation will be the first to lead shorter and sicker lives than their parents (Olshansky et al. 2005). Many of them won′t live to see their grandchildren!

    Hollywood images aside, being sedentary is the norm in America. According to the National Health and Nutrition Survey, 95 percent of Americans do not get enough physical activity (Troiano et al. 2008), but even that figure is an underestimate of Americans′ love affair with their couches. We get an average of 10 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day, at best, and spend most of...

  8. TWO The Benefits of Widespread Physical Activity and Opportunities to Move the Needle
    (pp. 54-77)

    If exercise came in pill form, it would turn up in every medicine cabinet in America and make some Big Pharma companies very wealthy indeed. As a matter of fact, one goal of industry-funded research is to discover oral medications that mimic the effects of exercise training, so-called exercise mimetics that can combat metabolic disorders—so far to no avail (Hawley and Holloszy 2009). Physical activity is one of the most potent and grossly underutilized tools in preventive medicine′s black bag. Getting as little as 50 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week confers some health benefits; getting...

  9. THREE The Evolution of an Idea
    (pp. 78-107)

    You won′t recognize me, though I might look vaguely familiar. If you saw me on the street, you′d probably think ″athlete″ or, maybe, ″model.″ Depending on how I′m dressed, I can fit the stereotype of either: extraordinarily tall, long-limbed, high-cheekboned, almond-eyed, caramel-skinned, rangy but solid. I get stopped in airports for autographs by parents of little girls, eyes searching feverishly to try to figure out which WNBA team is in town. With fifty in my rearview mirror, I last played organized basketball for Northwestern in 1977, so I really can′t complain.

    I was a born psychiatrist not quite ready to...

  10. FOUR The Marketing and Social Marketing of Physical Activity and Fitness
    (pp. 108-139)

    To get people to move, you have to seduce them a bit—sell them on its attractiveness and immediate utility in their lives. Andimmediatefor most people rarely involves their health until catastrophe strikes and they have a heart attack or stroke or cancer diagnosis. ″Need an energy boost?″ ″Want to be sexy?″ If those appeals work for sports drinks and push-up bras, they can work for physical activity—ifthe costs and convenience are comparable. Big if! You really have to match apples and apples. If the sports drink with the eye-catching label is in the break room...

  11. FIVE The Case for the Instant Recess Model
    (pp. 140-174)

    Almost everybody wants to look and feel better. But in the long run the cost of doing so is high, the rewards are few and slow to materialize, and the obstacles are many. How often have we climbed that mountain against all odds, experiencing the elation of having achieved or nearly achieved a goal, and then plunged into the desperation, despair, or resignation accompanying our gradual or precipitous resumption of old habits when the odds caught up with us? Sure, it seems easy to take up a fitness regimen on your own—walking outdoors, say, is as cheap as a...

  12. SIX Instant Recess — What’s Good for the Waistline Is Good for the Bottom Line!
    (pp. 175-218)

    OK, this is all well and good and warm and fuzzy, but you need something you can hang your hat on if you′re going to persuade others to get on board—especially the cynics you′re dealing with every day. Perhaps you′re convinced by now that activity breaks are manageable, but really, what good are they? What difference do they make, and what kind of proof is there that they work? A lot of things sound good on paper, but how do they translate in practice? What′s the longer-term experience of the recess model? Where has this been tried, and what...

  13. SEVEN A Glimpse into the Future: How the Recess Model Sparked a Physical Activity Movement
    (pp. 219-240)

    So far, I′ve laid out the challenges and opportunities presented by the twin epidemics of obesity and sedentariness. Some of it′s been pretty depressing stuff. So as a reward for sticking it out, join me on a visit to the future I envision that doesn′t have to be sci-fi.

    America made a giant leap toward promoting a fit and healthy populace at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. It was ripe for radical transformation, and it signaled that desire in the election of Barack Obama. The multinational economic crisis was threatening to rupture our health care...

  14. References
    (pp. 241-252)
  15. About the Author
    (pp. 253-254)
  16. Index
    (pp. 255-263)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 264-264)