Take Ten to Walk, Stretch or Build Strength

Employee wellness program helps you fit 10-minute breaks into work days

David Gaines stretches at his desk in the Duke TIP office.
David Gaines stretches at his desk in the Duke TIP office.

Every three hours, David Gaines stands up from his desk to stretch his quadriceps. In 10-second intervals, he places one foot behind him on a chair and carefully bends down with the opposite leg to lead into the stretch.

This is part of his routine for “Take Ten,” a self-paced initiative through LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke’s employee wellness program. Take Ten, among the offerings of the Healthy Duke campaign, encourages faculty and staff to take an active 10-minute break twice a day.

“I find that it helps me clear my head and focus on what I’m doing,” said Gaines, educational programs coordinator for the Duke Talent Identification Program.

Take Ten participants choose between three activities when they register online for the program: stretching, walking and strength exercises. Accompanying guides are provided with helpful stretches and exercises to improve circulation, reduce tension and more.  

Taylor Leach Ingersoll, LIVE FOR LIFE fitness specialist, said taking a break to walk or stretch increases oxygen flow to brain, which boosts productivity. Participants who log activities online receive LIVE FOR LIFE dollars, monopoly-like money that can be spent in the LIVE FOR LIFE store.

“Participating in Take Ten is a nice way to get rewarded for being active throughout the day,” Leach said. “A 10-minute activity can accomplish a lot more than simply bettering health.”

For Julie Hobgood, participating in Take Ten has led to better health.

After changing jobs at Duke last fall, Hobgood struggled with a 15-minute walk from a parking garage to her office at Duke South. She enrolled in Take Ten earlier this year to launch herself into healthier habits.  

Now, Hobgood, a payroll specialist for Nursing & Patient Care Services, takes two walks daily. She and coworker Danielle Woods generally walk for about 15 minutes each time around Abele Quad or through the lower levels of Duke South. 

With all of her walking, Hobgood takes about 12,500 steps daily. 

“Take Ten has provided me a lot of motivation,” she said. “Physically, I’m feeling a lot better, and I feel less stressed.”