You might find yourself doing all kinds of things to reach your step goal for the day. Pacing while talking on the phone, marching at your standing desk while working, taking more trips up and down the stairs while cleaning. While these are great for moving more, exercise scientists are discovering what brain scientists already know. What is happening in your brain while you move, makes those steps really count.
A recently published article found that when workers took a mental break while doing an exercise break at work, their brain functioned much better than those whose brain continued working during an exercise break.
When you are mentally working on something, your body fatigues because stress is preparing it for movement. Like a car that is sitting in traffic, your body is revved up, using up energy, because it is ready to move but not moving. This increases the work for you body while putting healing and repair on hold, until you are more relaxed mentally. Movement is the antidote to the stress response. This is why exercise can be so effective for stress reduction.
But exercise is not always effective for reducing stress because often our brain is still working when we exercise. This reduces the effects of exercise on the body and, as this study shows, on the brain as well.
While exercising, taking a break mentally by putting aside any work or personal problem gives you the most from the time you are investing in exercise. This study, like so many , reinforce the knowledge that our brain and body are an inseparable two way street. When we consider what is happening in both, we get more of what we want from exercise for our health and well being.
So right now, join me for a body + brain break. Take a moment right now to get up, stretch, dance, walk, move in some way and at the same time put aside those work/life problems you are working in your head. If your brain is reluctant, give it something else to focus on such as how grateful for what your body can do or how good it feels to move.
Relax and enjoy the whole person recharge.
Keep Moving, Be Well,