• Baseball inspired stretches you can achieve in business attire
Baseball season is in full swing. The beautiful weather and sunny days may give your attendees a bit of ‘spring fever,’ if they are sitting in meetings most of the day. When eyes start to wonder and fingers begin to fidget, a break to stretch is in everyone’s best interest.
Luckily, for planners utilizing JW Marriott Chicago, groups can enjoy a special ‘7th Inning Stretch Breakout Session.’ This stretch breakout session, in collaboration with Spa at JW Chicago, has become part of the hotel’s Fit Meetings Program that includes additional meeting offerings such as ‘posture perfect’ which incorporates pilates-based strength training movements, meditation, group runs, and more.
“Think of this wellness break and stretches as a mental and physical rejuvenation,” said Raynor, “When we sit all day there is a cascading effect of physical deterioration.” He describes the four ways this occurs:
• The first system affected is our circulatory. As we sit we have blockages and structural interferences within our body (hips, glutes, shoulders, abdominals, and torso) due to excessive compression of the body.
• The second system is our tissues (muscles and fascia) due to compression. They dehydrate and get sticky and stiff. Think of healthy muscles as a raw filet mignon and unhealthy compressed muscles as beef jerky. Compression dehydrates the tissue and decreases elasticity.
• The third is breath. As we sit in a forward slumped posture we slowly crush our diaphragm decreasing its ability to function. Consequently, we use our neck and shoulders to breathe making those muscles tight and inflamed.
• Lastly are nervous system and mindset. After half a day of sitting you are feeling the effects of all the aforementioned systems baring down on you. You shift your body more frequently trying to find comfort which creates distraction and loss of attention to the content at the meeting. Your mind is wandering due to the loss of focus, now you are starting to look for the exits or pick up a device to soothe your distraction.
“We have all been there,” expressed Raynor. “The meeting breaks offer a fresh perspective to attendees. It's also typically a new experience for most people to go through and can be a topic of ice breaking which fosters better networking. We try to integrate meeting new people into our meeting breaks when possible.”
Those who have tried dynamic meeting breaks, experience the wonders for productivity, and specifically the ability to process, absorb, and recall information after movement and breathing are seen. Consider bringing these elements into your next event to breath new life into your attendees.
The 7th Inning Stretch breakout session goes like this*:
• Intro/Diaphragmatic Breathing - 5 minutes
• Stretch - 5 to 10 minutes
◦ Light Forward Fold
◦ Easy Cobra Stretch
◦ Shoulder Circles
◦ Figure 4 (standing, or with chair)
◦ Light Squats with a chair
• Meditation - 5 minutes
* Remember to make sure to have professionally licensed wellness facilitators when providing these types of activities for your attendees.