To become a world-class triathlete, Lesley Paterson found herself pushing her limits ‘beyond what most thought were healthy’. Missed birthdays, early mornings, holidays ruined by searching for a pool to train in – her account of what it takes to reach the top will inspire some, but terrify others. And with many of us finding our motivation in all aspects of our life sapped by working from home, such commitment seems out of reach. Might as well give up trying?
If that thought has crossed your mind, remember that exercise – and the benefits it confers – isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. Even a small amount of it could be just what you need to fire you up once more – and that’s in both your work and life.
Researchers at the University of Tsukuba, Japan, found that a 10-minute jog can increase blood flow to regions of your bilateral prefrontal cortex associated with cognitive function and positivity – boosting not only your mental processing power but also the way you feel. Even moderate running makes enormous demands on your brain, forcing it to coordinate complex processes involved in balance, movement and propulsion.
To test whether this had measurable spin-off benefits to the mind, the scientists assessed the ability of 26 participants to inhibit ‘cognitive interference’ before and after a run at half their maximal aerobic capacity. The study, which involved identifying colours while ignoring verbal distractions, confirmed that even a quick plod around the block results in significantly enhanced problem-solving skills as well as heightened ‘pleasure levels’.
So try fitting a brief jog into your working routine. It’ll brush away the cobwebs and restore your vim just in time for your big presentation. Consider the aerobic benefits
an added bonus.
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