Get moving to get focused
Add movement to your day to wake up your brain and body
At a Glance: You don’t have to run a marathon to reap the benefits of exercise. Make an effort to get moving for at least 10 minutes every day to improve concentration and efficiency.
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Most people reach for sugar or caffeine when they’re feeling sluggish. While a hot coffee, candy or soda may provide a quick jolt, there are other ways to wake up your brain that don’t cause an ensuing crash. And it’s free.
An effective way to perk up the body — and brain — is to get moving. Many studies show that exercise energizes bodies and brains, leading to greater productivity. For example, a study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that on days when participants exercised, they reported 21 percent higher scores for concentration and a 22 percent increase in finishing work on time.
Here are four ways to get your blood pumping:
Short but sweet
Waking up your brain with movement doesn’t have to take a lot of time. A 10-minute vigorous walk will get your heart pumping and blood flowing to your brain. This in turn will sharpen your awareness and amp up your productivity. If you can walk for longer, great! But you still get mental and physical benefits from a short walk.
Up and at ‘em
Start your day with movement to get lasting benefits all day. Popping out of bed and going for a walk or doing some at-home exercises such as jogging in place, sit-ups or jumping jacks will get your brain buzzing from the get-go. And your workout is done before other responsibilities derail your plans.
It turns out that exercise can improve energy levels. That’s because exercise helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently, delivering increased oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. It’s science. Consider parking your car a few extra blocks from the office, taking the stairs at work or getting off the bus farther from home. You will incorporate some extra movement into your day — waking up your brain along the way.
Working out doesn’t have to be the enemy. Consider signing up for a dance class, hopping on your bike or joining a community sports league. Take your dog for a longer walk or play yard games with your kids. Furry friends and small people know how to burn off energy without even thinking twice.
Final note: After your workout — no matter how quick — drink a big glass of water. That extra hydration coupled with exercise will jazz your brain right up and help you dig into schoolwork.