Over the winter and cooler months, it seems that it becomes more and more of a struggle to perform every day tasks, like, oh I don’t know. Walk up the stairs. Brush your teeth. Say hello to your significant other. But don’t worry, there is a perfectly legitimate scientific reason for this. Lack of vitamin D from sunlight, increased melatonin, and what I like to call “I’m so mad that I can’t get warm so I refuse to get out of bed” syndrome. As a result, we begin to pile on the pounds and when you combine that with the pasty white pallor of our skin, let’s just say most of us are not looking our “healthiest.”
But then spring arrives.
We get off the couch. We open our eyes and see the sun. And suddenly, we get the urge to move! Again, there are scientific reasons. Increased vitamin D, increased dopamine, and most importantly, “I refuse to waste this beautiful day sitting in front of the TV” syndrome.
I realize that I am very lucky to have the opportunity to play outside with my little guys on these gorgeous days. Most people are forced to work in an office and only look outside with longing at the perfect weather. But I’m not here to make you hate your life, I’m here to help! It is so important to stay active throughout the day. This article lists six ways that exercise positively affects the brain. The article is really interesting, and I would recommend reading it! But in case you’d rather just see the list, here it is:
- It spurs brain growth
- It boosts brain-building hormones
- It fights depression and anxiety
- It reduces the effects of stress
- It improves your brain’s executive function
- It increases sensitivity to insulin
Obviously, staying active plays a major part in our every day lives. But as I mentioned above, many people do not have the opportunity for exercise throughout the day. Some take advantage of the longer days to get active when they get home from work, but many do not have this luxury due to family responsibilities. If this sounds like you, then check out the next list I have compiled with different ways to be active while you’re at work. Not only will it help your body feel better, but as you can see from the list above, your brain function will improve and will most likely be reflected in your work output!
- Take a walk – everyone is entitled to a break while at work, but many do not take advantage of this time preferring to complete their required tasks instead. But simply taking a walk around the block can significantly improve your mood, and will most likely help you to complete your tasks more efficiently! Find someone to walk with and this will help encourage you to do it every day!
- Stand – there are many offices that are providing standing desks for their employees, and if yours is open to it, I would highly recommend it! You do not have to stand all day, but you do have the option of raising the height of your desk so you can get your blood flowing and wake up a little. If you can, try marching in place while doing your work to burn even more calories.
- Talk to people – sometimes it seems much easier to send a quick email to our coworkers, but if you can manage to deliver that message in person without getting caught up in a longer conversation than necessary, this is a great way to get on your feet and clear your head.
- Do a quick exercise – The Washington Post has compiled a list of 12 quick exercises to do at the office. Some of them might seem a little silly, but if you’re in the privacy of your own office, or if you can get more people to do them with you, the benefit will outweigh whatever embarrassment you might feel!
- Use small exercise equipment – when all else fails, it’s probably time to revert back to the 90’s and get your thighmaster on. I would not recommend doing this in public, and ladies, careful if you’re wearing a skirt! But this is an easy exercise you can do under your desk with no one even realizing!
When you’ve finished laughing (or drooling, depending on which camp you’re in), try to think of some exercises you are able to accomplish while at work and post them in the comments. Every little bit helps, and will benefit both mind and body! And remember, everyone has the ability to improve company culture, so take it upon yourself to organize some brain breaks for the office. These are great for kids, and I imagine would improve office morale with adults as well!