Whether it’s the hot weather, the long workday, or just a bad day, keeping your concentration can be a difficult task. Taking a quick break or drinking some coffee might seem like the best way to reset your brain, but there is evidence to suggest that the best way to get a boost is a short burst of exercise! And we mean short – some studies suggest that just 10 minutes of activity can increase focus and improve your problem-solving abilities.
Previous studies have shown that following an exercise routine on a regular basis will improve brain function and that the benefits of exercise for memory and concentration can be seen after only 20 minutes of exercise. However, a study from the University of Western Ontario suggests that we may be able to see huge benefits from only 10 minutes of activity. In this study, participants were divided into two groups and for ten minutes, one group would sit and read, while the other would do ten minutes of light exercise on an exercise bike. After the ten minutes, researchers studied the participants’ reaction times during a task that required concentration and quick decision making.
The study concluded that those who had exercised did much better than those who had been resting, performing the task with higher accuracy and quicker reaction times.
How Does It Work?
Exercise and physical activity has been shown to boost your brain’s production of chemicals such as:
- Dopamine: a neurotransmitter that allows your brain to send messages and helps to improve your ability to focus and find new information interesting.
- Norepinephrine: a chemical that is also involved in message transmission in the brain and increases alertness and focus.
- Serotonin: a hormone that stabilises moods and increases the brain’s ability to communicate with the body and nerve cells.
The production of these chemicals therefore improves your brain’s ability to transfer information. This will greatly increase your ability to concentrate on tasks and comprehend information. The other benefit of exercise is the release of stress, and even a short burst of activity can help you feel a little calmer, which will improve your ability to concentrate on what you are doing.
So, if you are feeling slightly down or struggling to focus on your work, get up and get moving! Even if you just have time for a short walk around the block, a ten minute HIIT workout, or just doing some jumping jacks for a few minutes, any physical activity will help you to work better.
Are you interested in discovering more about exercise? If you are, then you should do our Personal Training Diploma. For additional information about this as well as our other fitness courses, please follow this link.