Remembering Dr. Yancey and Instant Recess

Remember when it was time for recess? The bell would ring and sheer joy would overcome the classroom. Everyone would race to the playground, tripping over their feet to get outside and play in the sunshine.

Whatever happened to recess? That’s what UCLA’s Dr. Toni Yancey wanted to know. Because the solution to our growing obesity epidemic is fun and simple – that’s right, it’s recess!

According to Dr. Yancey’s research , we don’t even need that much of it. Just 10-minute exercise breaks are enough to make us a healthier and more productive nation.

Dr. Yancey’s research was ground-breaking and her energy contagious. Just listening to her describe Instant Recess  made you want to jump out of your seat and move! Even Michelle Obama caught on to the idea and promoted Dr. Yancey’s work. You can listen to Dr. Yancey’s presentation of Instant Recess in this Ted Talk from last fall.

And not only was Dr. Yancey a pioneer in health promotion, but she was a former model and college basketball player. When she wasn’t teaching at UCLA, Dr. Yancey was also a poet and spoken word artist.

Last month, after a long battle with lung cancer, Dr. Yancey passed away at the age of 55. She never smoked.

Move Well is especially saddened by this immeasurable loss. Dr. Yancey was the pod’s founding faculty member. Her vision shaped our mission to get UCLA up and moving and continues to guide our work.

To honor Dr. Yancey, get out from behind the desk or library cubicle and take a 10-minute recess break! She would love to know we’re moving more than ever, taking quick breaks throughout the day to exercise our bodies and refresh our minds.

We want to keep Dr. Yancey’s legacy alive, and you can help! If you have ideas on how UCLA can move more, please comment on this blog and let us know!

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