You’ve all probably heard those commercials that refer to that “2 o’clock feeling” … what about that 9-5 feeling? Most of us know that we really can’t afford to hit the snooze button for a third or fourth time, but we often do it until we absolutely must get out of bed. Once our bodies are finally awake, we must wake our brains up to focus for our workday after our alarm’s unsettling “buzz, buzz”.
Reader, if you haven’t met before, let me introduce you to Morning-Exercise. Morning-Exercise, please meet Reader. *Reader and Morning Exercise shake hands and exchange quaint pleasantries*
A study, recently published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, looked at 138 students between the ages of 8 and 11, none of whom displayed any difficulty with attention. After a morning 50-minute gym class, which focused on endurance activities like running and skipping rope, the youths performed significantly better on a test specifically designed to test attention and the ability to concentrate, compared to students who hadn’t exercised in the morning. Another batch of students took the test after a 50-minute gym class consisting of learning new ball handling drills, and the students only performed slightly better versus their non-exercising counterparts. The results led researches to conclude that thinking and moving was too much for students, while simple, repetitive movements can lead to significantly increased concentration throughout the day.
So, what about us adults? What can Morning-Exercise do for us?!
Though the study focused on youths, there is no reason not to generalize the results to adults. While I might be slightly better than my 8-11 year old pals at sitting still, I know that my 15 minute walk to work and that my summer afternoon walks along the Charles River help me maintain focus until closing time here in Boston.
Everyone knows exercise can help shrink our waist circumference … now, we know it can help with focus! What are you waiting for? Walk to work if you can. Grab a quick lunch at your desk and then take a few turns around your block. Have you had your first friend-date with Morning-Exercise? Have you found any sure fire ways to keep your brain firing on all cylinders that “9 to 5 feeling” at bay?
I bike to work. I’ve been doing it for most of the summer and though some days it’s a struggle to keep moving my legs, on most days, my body and brain both ask for it. I’ve noticed I’m grumpier if I have to take the T instead. On the days my legs don’t want to work, I remind myself this isn’t a race, and “no matter how slow I’m going, I’m still lapping those people sitting on the couch”. AND my bike commute is shorter than my public transportation commute which means I can sneak in an extra snooze button if I need to. 🙂