If you find you're dragging a lot at work, it could be the timing of your workouts that are getting in your way. Most people who work out on a regular basis will do so before work or after work. Some will try to fit in a bit of exercise during their lunch hour if they do indeed get a full hour.
That said, pouring all your workout time into a single stretch during the day may give you your daily minutes and the steps you need on your tracker, but it might not be doing much for your mind. If you stay sedentary all day long – even after a great workout first thing in the morning – you'll start to run out of steam eventually.
A new study from Japan has shown that short bouts of exercise throughout the day are great for your health and give you a significant mental boost, too. A short bout of exercise that doesn't require you to concentrate or think will refresh you thoroughly.
This suggests that if workers were to be allowed to take quick breaks to stop thinking about work and do a mindless physical activity – such as riding a stationary bike – they return to their tasks feeling refreshed. Moreover, the boost in productivity they experience makes the time away from the desk more than worthwhile.
If you can manage to take hourly breaks to move your body, you'll find that your mind will respond well, too. This is not only fantastic for your heart health, but it can make you happier, more focused and more efficient in your work once you sit down again.
The Japanese study was conducted at Waseda University, Tokyo, by a team of researchers under lead author Keita Kamijo, an assistant professor within the sports sciences faculty. The team worked with 28 male participants who had to complete working memory tasks. Working memory is what makes it possible for the brain to be continually updated so they can continue working on a task. This includes strategies, goals and assignments, among other things.
The participants took working memory tests both right before and right after taking workout breaks. They took these tests at different times of the day, to see if that would have an impact on the results. What the researchers found was that as long as the workouts required very little to no concentration, the participants performed much better on their working memory tests afterward.
If you want to boost your personal training so it will have an impact in your life you can feel in the moment, consider working tiny hourly workout sessions into your day.