Beware of the Chair: Take A Stand at Meetings and Conferences

X-bytes_WellnessBlog_Banner3-2 Think back to your last all-day meeting or event. How often did you feel tired? Did you get fanny fatigue from sitting too much? Brain freeze from hearing a lot of information in a short period of time?

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Move of the Month

Leg Curls

1. Lift leg behind body
2. Bring heel in toward your butt
3. Hold and squeeze muscles for 3 seconds
4. Straighten leg
5. Repeat 10 times on each leg

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Think back to your last all-day meeting or event. How often did you feel tired? Did you get fanny fatigue from sitting too much? Brain freeze from hearing a lot of information in a short period of time?

Symptoms of Conference Fatigue

Sitting fatigue and learning fatigue are common problems experienced by attendees who sit for a long time at meetings and conferences.

  • Muscles tighten, posture becomes slouched and energy levels plummet as the day wears on.
  • Physical inactivity makes people sluggish. This affects the brain as much as the body, making people less able to retain information.

Traditional Approaches

Surprisingly, coffee breaks and traditional fitness activities can be ineffective.

  • Coffee breaks, while energizing for a short time, are often counterproductive to learning. People feel more fatigued once the caffeine and sugar high wear off.
  • Fitness activities such as group walks and runs or yoga breaks are included in some conferences. Unfortunately, these activities are often held early in the morning and attract few attendees.

Healthier Alternatives

Fitness Micro-Breaks

Delivered in-person or by video, fitness micro-breaks increase blood flow to the muscles and pump oxygen to the brain, keeping attendees awake and alert for extended periods of time. A room full of people talking, laughing, smiling and stretching makes them feel great afterwards.

  • Make it convenient: Keep the breaks brief, sweat-free, and easy to accomplish in business attire at participants’ seats during conference sessions.
  • Mix it up: Weave in periods of stretching and strengthening throughout the event: mid-morning and mid-afternoon; before or after keynotes and plenaries; before sessions while attendees wait in their seats; and mid-session.
  • Avoid certain times: Don’t schedule fitness breaks in the early morning when people straggle in, at the end of day when people scatter, and during refreshment breaks when people want to hit the restroom or check their messages.

Sit-Free Environments

Standing room used to mean you were relegated, chairless, to the outer reaches of a packed auditorium. But today, given what we know about the benefits of getting attendees out of their seats — better retention, attention and overall good feelings — planners are looking for new ways to build standing room into their events.

  • Standing sections: Design the space so that people who wish to stand can do so comfortably with good sightlines (but in a way that doesn’t block the view of sitters). Consider bonuses for standers – easy access to a water station or first dibs on meeting the speaker.
  • Stand-up lunches and dinners: Cruiser tables are your friends! Not only does a stand-up meal decrease sitting time, it makes it easier for delegates to mill about and network.
  • Active applauses (standing ovations): Encourage attendees to give their speakers a very enthusiastic thank-you, and while they’re up anyway, work in some stretches, knee bends, and maybe even a little dancing (make sure your AV tech has the latest rockin’ tune at the ready).
  • Walkshops: Don’t book a boardroom—head to a hiking trail or park instead. Walk-and-talking takes the formality and hierarchy out of traditional meetings, facilitating brainstorming and open discussion.

Take a Stand – Take Action

Don’t take conference fatigue sitting down. Take a stand! What is needed at your next event is an energy booster – something to fight sitting fatigue and learning fatigue, as well as enhance concentration and alertness. Resources are just a click away.

Check out a sample video
Get more info on integrating fitness into your events here

Standing up for good health,

Dr. Kim

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