During my corporate career, I often “broke the rules” and left for a fitness break in the afternoon. Without knowing the science behind it, it just felt good, right and I was triple productive when returning to the desk. Now as I’m living an entrepreneurial life, I consciously make breaks after every 60-90 min of intensive concentration and go for a short walk. At the beginning of COVID-19 announcements, instead of racing to buy toilet paper, we opted to build a mini-gym at home.
Most corporates today ignore the basic conditions that our brain needs for high performance and creativity. It is still believed that who sits at the desk the longest, is the most productive resource. The fact that, regular exercise is one of the underlying factors for a healthy mind and body, seems to be forgotten under peer pressure. I recall a colleague admitting that she even felt guilty working outside on the terrace on Fridays – which was our official “working from home day” according to the HR policy.
“I used to watch in horror, how my colleagues tried to push through their 8 am-8 pm jobs, working and eating non-stop at the desk.”
Have you ever questioned, who has the responsibility for your creativity, wellbeing and health? When we find ourselves close to burn-out, chronic pack pain, or other health issues, it can be too late. If your employer does not care, do you?
We know the benefits of exercising on weight loss, keeping fit and reducing the risks of inflammation, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Latest research shows, regular exercising also triggers the following brain benefits:
- it improves blood flow and stimulates chemical changes in our brain similar to the high performance or “flow” state;
- enables creative thinking;
- delays the effects of physiological aging and neurodegeneration, maintaining and protecting our memory and thinking skills;
- enhances learning, concentration and self-reflection capabilities;
- triggers positive mood and reduces stress.
What is your daily exercise routine when working from home? Will you be the change catalyst who brings new healthy practices to the office post-COVID?
Written by Siiri Musten
Sources and further research:
- “Regular Exercise Changes the Brain to Improve Memory, Thinking skills”, 2019, Harvard Medical School, Heidi Godman
- “Physical Activity and Brain Health”, 2019, University of Palermo, Carlo Maria Di Liegro, Gabriella Schiera, Patrizia Proia and Italia Di Liegro
- “Get Up Off That Couch! It’s Never Too Late to Boost Your Brain With Exercise”, 2020, CNN, Sandee LaMotte; Marc Poulin, University of Calgary
- “How Exercise Reprograms the Brain”, The Scientist, 2018, Ashley Yeager
- “Brain Aging Tied to Leisure Time Physical Activity”, 2020, Yian Gu, Columbia University
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