Updated: Jun 30
In this 2–part article, we will investigate how a little exercise can help boost your powers of concentration and take your workplace performance to the next level.
Part 01 of 02
A wave of new studies exploring the unexpected links between brainpower and bodily fitness have been emerging from universities. Results from these studies are showing how regular exercise is a key ingredient for building the brain and improving all aspects of cognition, especially mental focus, and ability to concentrate.
This information is helping people who want to perform at a high level prepare physically for mental challenges such as creative projects, interviews, long days in the office and life in general.
It also illustrates why regular exercise really is essential if you want to perform better, not just physically, but in all aspects of life…
Exercise can help you focus and stay on task.
Results of a Leeds Metropolitan University study, which examined the influence of daytime exercise among office workers with access to a company gym, suggested that exercise during regular work hours boosts mental performance. Researchers found on days when employees visited the gym, their experience at work changed. They reported managing their time better, being more productive, and being able to stay on task more effectively.
A study conducted by VU University Medical Centre in the Netherlands showed that interspersing lessons with 20-minute bouts of aerobics-style exercise improved the attention spans of school pupils.
Meanwhile, a large randomised controlled trial in the US looked at the effects of daily after-school sports classes on children over a school year. Results of the study showed improvements in the children’s executive control, they became more adept at ignoring distractions, multitasking, and holding and manipulating information in their minds.
Elsewhere, studies have shown that the parts of the brain that control thinking, memory and concentration (the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex) have greater volume in people who exercise versus people who don’t. “Even more exciting is the finding that engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of these selected brain regions,” says Dr. Scott McGinnis, a neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School.
This cognitive spill–over from exercise is showing us that our brains do not operate in isolation. What you do with your body influences greatly on your all your mental faculties – especially focus and concentration.
In part 02 of this article, we will look at exactly what exercise does to modify your brain and the fastest way to boost your own levels of concentration...