We all have those days when we just can’t seem to focus. Whether it’s a work project, school assignment or simply cleaning the house, checking off our “to-do list” can sometimes seem like a daunting task.
Well there’s good news. A recent study conducted at Western University in London, ON suggests that just 10-minutes of exercise is enough to prime the parts of the brain responsible for problem solving and focus.
Study participants either sat and read a magazine or did 10 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise on a stationary bike. Following the reading and exercise session, researchers examined the participants’ reaction to a cognitively demanding eye movement task. The test was designed to challenge areas of the brain responsible for decision-making and inhibition.
Participants who exercised for 10 minutes showed immediate improvement, including more accurate responses and better reaction times. According to the research, these findings may be especially helpful for older people who are in early stages of dementia and/or are less mobile. However, short bursts of exercise may also be beneficial for individuals who want to gain a quick mental edge at work or school.
Want to to test it out? Take a break from your task and try one of these 10-minute exercises at home, at work or anywhere else:
1) Take a break and go for a brisk walk outside
2) Ride your bike around the block or sit on a stationary bike
3) Find a flight of stairs and go up and down for 10 minutes
For a more intense workout, try this body weight circuit:
Rest for 10-15 seconds in between each exercise to catch your breath.
Warm up with 1 minute of high knee marches or jogging on spot. Then perform:
15-20 body weight squats
10-12 pushups (regular or modified)
20 alternating forward lunges (10 per leg)
20 Mountain Climbers
15-20 Glute Bridge Pulses
30 jumping jacks
45-60 second plank