It’s everywhere. Entrepreneurs, business professionals, and HR departments, completely fixated on finding the “silver bullet” for optimizing workplace productivity . . . and for good reason. The statistics on employee productivity are staggering, with the US Bureau of Labor (2016) uncovering data that suggest employee engagement and productivity is actually decreasing over time, even with consideration of modern advances in technology, communication, and globalization of information.
How can this be? More importantly, what can we do about it?
The answer is simple. We need to get people MOVING again. This doesn’t mean that we need our employees attending daily sessions of Crossfit or high-intensity F45 workouts. All we really need is for people to allocate time on a daily basis to focus on their physical health and overall well-being.
As Anat Baniel explains, movement truly is the language of the brain, and for good reason. Neuroscience has revealed new theories as to why we actually have a brain, aligning with the ideas stated in Daniel Wolpert’s TED Talk, leading us to believe that one of the few reasons we actually have a brain is to navigate and promote MOVEMENT throughout our environment. Keeping this in mind, here are 3 simple ways of how physical movement will improve your ability to find success in the workplace and throughout your career.
1. Specific exercises can literally re-wire your brain in different ways.
Very few would object to the fact that physical exercise is good for you, so why don’t they act on this information? Because it’s just that. Information.
So what if I told you that different forms of exercise can change the way your brain in different ways? A recent study published in the journal Brain Plasticity found that low-intensity exercise showed increased connectivity throughout specific networks associated with cognitive processing and attention, while high-intensity exercise showed increased connectivity within areas of the brain responsible for regulating affective and emotional processes.
Keeping this in mind, it is important to realize how impactful exercise can be for increasing your ability to focus and concentrate on tasks.
Looking to improve your ability to pay attention during board meetings? Implement a low-intensity workout. Trying to find an option to calm your nerves for a review with your leadership team? Cut out 10 minutes of your day for a high-intensity exercise to get your blood flowing.
2. Physical movement can improve brain plasticity and connectivity.
Brain plasticity is a term used by neuroscientists to describe the brain’s ability to change and adapt over time. For the early part of the century, scientists were convinced that the brain only changed and developed into the early part of our adult lives, leaving many questions about what happens when we find ourselves in the later stages of life. Fast forward ahead a hundred years and we have a completely different understanding of how the brain changes and grows throughout our lifetimes, allowing us to realize that we can truly change our brain until the day we die.
Physical exercise causes an increase in the production of a specific protein in the brain called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which is responsible for changing the brain and increasing connectivity within neuronal networks, enhancing learning, improving memory, and protecting the brain against insult.
Knowing this information will place you light years ahead of your counterparts, as this fact alone can be a complete game-changer for someone looking to optimize their productivity and efficiency in the office.
Looking to find ways to retain more information for a presentation? Get out and move.
Searching to find a way to retain more of your customers by remembering your conversations? Put in a quality workout.
Having trouble remembering simple tasks to get done throughout the day? Take a walk and go through your mental checklist. You would be surprised to see how quickly your memory can serve you.
3. Exercise is one of the best-known anti-depressants on the market.
We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve been frustrated at work or with the challenges that face us on a near-daily basis, yet we rarely look to our natural resources as fuel for change.
Exercise can be one of the most effective ways to change the brain and its overall functionality, which is one of the reasons why we base human development and specific motor milestones on established physical movements and patterns while babies grow in their early years of life. Physical movement has continuously been shown to significantly improve our overall physical and mental health, especially with regard to depression and anxiety. A majority of the literature points to the benefits of activity within the frontal lobe and hippocampus, both of which are regions that are responsible for executive function and memory formation, respectively.
Keeping all of this in mind, it’s easy to see why physical movement can make a significant impact in your ability to be successful in your career, as it correlates with so many factors that positively affect your productivity and output.
Get out and MOVE!
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