Updated: Jun 30
The following segment is part 02 of the article series on how exercise can help boost your powers of concentration and take your workplace performance to the next level.
Part 02 of 02
So, How Does Exercise Change Your Brain to Improve Concentration?
Exercise helps drive mental focus and enhance levels of concentration through both direct and indirect means.
Direct Benefits – Helping You Focus
Getting your heart rate up leads directly and immediately to improved cognitive function and staying on task. This is due to a positive increase in blood pressure and blood flow to the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen, and this makes our brain perform better. Especially in certain parts such as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain known to help in resisting distractions and improving attention.
Exercising moderately and regularly stimulates the release chemical growth factors in the brain. The release of these growth factors stimulates the formation of new brain cells, continued health of existing brain cells and growth of brain blood vessels, helping improve brain function and boosting mental performance.
More specifically exercise increases BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), in parts of the brain regions involved in executive control and concentration. This leads directly to brain cells binding to one another. As such, synapses, or connections between cells become denser and more intimate – we think and focus better because our capacity to make connections is improved.
Regular exercise is also shown to reduce insulin resistance and inflammation, shown to be strong causes of brain fog, reduced memory, and concentration.
Indirect Benefits – Improving Wellbeing
In addition to its direct effects on mental performance, physical activity also aids concentration by improving general health. Feeling tired, uncomfortable, and irritable can take a toll on cognitive health and ability to concentrate. Developing a regular exercise routine helps increase fitness, improve sleep, lowers stress and improves mood. This boosts mental health and combats conditions, such as anxiety, fatigue and depression, which make concentrating at work difficult.
The Quickest Way to Build Your Brain:
If you’re looking for immediate improvements in mental acuity and concentration so you can perform better here’s how it’s done:
a minimum of 20 minutes moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise (heart rate at 70–80% of maximum), interspersed with your work hours… such as in the morning before you begin or in your lunch break, seem to work best.
If longer term performance benefits are more what you’re after:
develop a regular pattern of 30–60 minutes resistance training along with 20–30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise, such as running, cycling or elliptical trainer, three to five days a week, before or after work, or during your lunch break will work wonders!
There it is – regular, well-structured exercise… it doesn’t just get you in shape, it will help build your brain, develop your superpowers of concentration, and ensure you perform better in all aspects of life.
At Club Forma, our personal trainers design personalised exercise programs that maximize on performance enhancing techniques and minimize on time – helping our clients perform better at work and ensuring they stay on top of their busy lives.
If you are interested in learning more about how we can help you, book a free consultation with one of our expert trainers.