How exercise can boost work performance

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This is excellent advice via the Courier-Post on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018:



We’re all familiar with the obvious benefits of exercise — regular physical activity can keep us looking and feeling fit and healthy, increase our energy levels and confidence and help us maintain high levels of self-esteem. Staying active can also help us fight off a wealth of potentially life-threatening illnesses.

If you’re still not sold, perhaps this will help seal the deal — exercise helps fuel and maintain a healthy body, and it can actually improve your ability to think and retain information.


Recent studies have shown the following cognitive benefits of exercise:

Boosts brainpower: If you’re looking to take your brain’s ability to the next level, you can’t do much better than regular exercise. Studies have shown that exercise can actually increase the volume of key areas in your brain.

Enhances thinking ability: Regular workouts will help kick away the dreaded “brain fog” that keeps you from thinking clearly and keep your mind and thoughts razor sharp all day long.

Helps you process and remember new information more effectively: If you’re trying to acquire a new skill or task, like learning a new language or tackling a new job responsibility, combining it with regular exercise can help. New research suggests that physical activity can increase the size of the medial temporal and pre-frontal cortex of your brain, key areas that regulate and control thinking and memory, so you’ll be able to master that new skill faster.

Improves ability on cognitive tasks: Do you have an important test for work or school coming up? Whatever your mental goals are, exercise will help you succeed on all sorts of cognitive tasks that test your intelligence and brainpower.

Keeps away the negatives: Regular exercise will help keep your mood positive and upbeat, help you achieve more restful sleep at night and help reduce anxiety and stress, ensuring your brain works at its best.


Now that you know it works, let’s explore how you can make it work for you.

Although there’s some debate regarding the type of exercise that best serves to promote brain function, according to a recent article by Harvard Medical School, “researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. Resistance training, balance and muscle toning exercises did not have the same results.”

Research also suggests that although you’ll receive a brain benefit regardless of when you decide to exercise, the most promising results typically occur when you do your workout before or even during a cognitive task.

Another big question you might be wondering about is how much exercise you should do in order to receive a cognitive benefit. The same Harvard Medical School report suggests that “standard recommendations advise half an hour of moderate physical activity most days of the week, or 150 minutes a week.”

If you’re worried that you’re simply too busy to exercise or find the very idea of exercise daunting, a great way to take a step forward toward a regular active lifestyle is to start small. Try taking a brief yet brisk walk for 10 to 15 minutes each day, and gradually increase your workout in both length and intensity as time passes.

Now that you know all about the many benefits that exercise will bring to your life, put the excuses aside and get up and get moving toward yoursuccessful future!

Eric Titner is a career advice journalist for, where this article was originally published. He investigates and writes about current strategies, tips and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career.

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