Posted on 7/18/2016 by Mark Hutchinson, Partner at WEO Media
"The thing we don't want to do is overstate the benefits, but there is all kinds of proof that exercise, both physical and mental, increases brain activity." - Nolan Bushnell
"I think if you exercise, your state of mind - my state of mind - is usually more at ease, ready for more mental challenges. Once I get the physical stuff out of the way it always seems like I have more calmness and better self-esteem." - Stone Gossard
For many years I have recognized an interesting effect in my own thinking and problem solving. When I try to “think hard” about a problem it is often slow-going and frustrating work to reach a good solution. However, if I think about the problem for a few minutes and then go for a run, the solutions “appear” during or directly after my run without having to even think about them. Have you ever noticed such an effect for yourself?
The quotes today from the founder of Atari and lead guitarist for Pearl Jam demonstrate that others have seen this effect in their own lives. As it turns out, humongous piles of scientific studies have tested and affirmed that exercise (in nearly any form) has a tremendous impact on your ability to think and create. In fact, just 20 minutes of walking per day reduces your chances of dementia by 60%!
Given the overwhelming evidence of the critical role of moving your body on how well your thinker works, you’d expect that schools and work places would look more like a 24 Hour Fitness instead of the anti-movement environments they currently are. Somehow this knowledge hasn’t percolated into our society quite yet, but don’t let that stop you!
Find a way to get movement into your day. Somehow, someway you’ve got to get up and move around.
In little as 12 weeks of limited exercise (30 minutes, three time per week) significant improvements in cognitive abilities can be measured including: long-term memory, reasoning, attention, problem-solving, and fluid-intelligence tests. Even children’s school test scores will jump up substantially from that few months of running around. And, tragically, will drop back down just as quickly if exercise disappears from their week!
Find ways to work-out while you work. Make your play-time pulse-pounding. Lobby for your after-dinner activity to be aerobic!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Every 30 minutes get up and walk around your office for 2 minutes.
For lunch walk around the block.
Lift your kids to give them a hug (unless they are bigger then you!)
Go for nature hikes each week.
Standup while you work during the day.
What ideas can you plug into your day? What do your friends and co-workers do to stay active during the day?
Experiment and see what type of movement you can smoothly integrate into your day.
Your boss should be onboard with integrating exercise with the work day because productivity, creativity, problem-solving, emotional stability all increase which is good for both the workers and the bottom-line!