As spring thaws out Canada and floods the land with warm sunshine, office drones may feel the glory days are passing them by. You could set up a webcam and live stream the sunshine to your computer, or you could take expert advice and make the most of your breaks.

Stan Murray, director of healthy workplace at Canada's National Quality Institute, says workers may feel pressure from their bosses to not take breaks, or guilt for leaving the office. But the good outweighs any bad for everyone, he says.

"If you're taking your breaks, you're doing all sorts of wonderful things for yourself. You're releasing tension, you're reducing stress, helping ease symptoms of depression and anxiety, lowering your blood pressure and helping to prevent headaches from eye strain," he says.


The benefits are increased if you take an active break and get your heart rate up. Use your lunch hour to hit the gym and if you need an extra 10 minutes, tell your boss. Your increased energy when you get back will quickly make up for it, Murray says.

"Senior leaders are role models and should set examples by taking lunch breaks and not encroaching on personal time," he adds.

Judith Down, director of the Alberta Centre for Active Living at the University of Alberta, says too many workers spend too much time sitting at their desk.

When you need to speak with a colleague, she says to invite them on a "walking meeting.”

"Instead of sitting in one place, you go for a walk with the person you want to meet with, either outdoors or indoors. That way you're getting your business done and getting some exercise," Down says.

"You can get a bit bogged down if you don't take a break."

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