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Stretching Our Way to Health

At Cisco, we’re no strangers to stretching our minds into creative brainstorming sessions that last for hours, and collaborating together to solve solutions. But, I found myself wondering if our bodies are as flexible as our minds?

Many people think that to be fit you need to become an Olympic athlete, and that just isn’t the case! There are many things we can do in our day to day lives to help keep our bodies flexible.

Did you know that just TEN MINUTES of stretching per day will keep your back healthy for years, and your mind organized for the entire working day? I believe we all have ten minutes to spare each day for this incredible benefit!

After I completed my CSAP (Cisco Sales Associates Program) year in Prague I moved to Cisco’s Moscow office in Russia. Moscow is like most big cities in that traveling to and from work can equate to long distances and a lot of additional time. I know from experience that in this daily rush we sometimes forget to take care of our own bodies, and an extra one-hour trip to the gym on top of this travel time can be exhausting. It can even be difficult to find motivation once home to do a quick workout.

As we spend a majority of time sitting while at work, and research has shown that it’s necessary to get up and move throughout the day to help our bodies perform – I thought there might be an opportunity here to connect with my co-workers as well. It took me a month to finally bring my idea to the office, but I am so glad that I did as it truly makes me love working here at Cisco.

Before I started working at Cisco and a Systems Engineer, I had a part-time job as a gymnastics and body-ballet coach. I thought that I could bring this knowledge to our teams here in Cisco Russia and help people to connect with each other further, while also motivating them to work out after our workdays are over. Now, twice per week my co-workers and I do stretching right at the office!

When I first introduced this idea, I wasn’t sure that it would find the support among my colleagues as I was still new to the office. Imagine my surprise when 10 people got back to me in that very same day! We had our first class the next week and we haven’t stopped since!

What started as just a simple stretching exercise, has turned in to a team of friends who are always there for one another. The group has said that they feel more energized and happier after classes, and even when I am out on PTO – they gather to keep the momentum going and have fun together. I’m so happy and proud in how dedicated everyone is to each other, and our health.

Daily productivity is something we all struggle with from time to time. Everyone hits a wall or gets sleepy – usually after lunch. Stretching is my trick to combat that afternoon exhaustion!

As an engineer, I create solutions to solve my customers’ problems and sometimes I find myself stuck on one task or another. A little stretching break goes a long way towards helping me figure out what my next moves should be. I do several simple exercises right at my working place and it helps me to bring my thoughts together, focus and come to a conclusion.

Find a few of your favorite stretches online, have a professional recommend some, or even use some you may remember from a gym class. Here is my typical routine:

1.Gently stretch your neck muscles – this will improve the blood circulation to your brain and bright ideas will come sooner than you expect.

2.Lift your hands up, while sitting on your chair and stretch your back as if you want to grow tall – after that you can lean forward, put your hands on the floor and find a position that will help your lower back to relax a little bit.

3.Lift your hands again and bend your body left and right.

4.Hold each position for 30 seconds, then repeat the whole set a few times.

5.Now you’re ready to get back to work! See how different you feel.

Are you ready to join us on a journey to a healthier tomorrow? Those ten minutes every day will be well worth it, and having you #LoveWhereYouWork too! Here’s to having a flexible mind and body!

Want to work at a company that encourages you to STRETCH? We’re hiring. Apply now.



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4 Comments

  1. Thanks! Great story! I try to stretch 10 minutes every day... earlier this week I stretched for 10 minutes at home while listening to the beginning of the Cisco Beat.

    • Tana, keep going! I'm so glad people pay attention to these little things :)

  2. Health matters!

  3. Great blog Oxana, it's great routine to kick off the day!