Here's How Morning Exercise Can Improve Your Work Day

Just 30 minutes can have a positive impact on concentration and memory.

Scientists are constantly learning more about the benefits of exercise: what kind is best, for how long you should exercise, and more. A new study, however, concluded that exercise can help various mental capabilities that could come in handy at work.

Group of middle age women walking together in fitness clothing
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The study, primarily from Australian researchers, looked at how exercise can improve cognition during a normal workday. Researchers defined a normal workday as 6.5 hours of sitting in front of a screen uninterrupted.

They found that 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, like jogging on a treadmill or using a stationary bike, can have dramatic benefits for cognition. The best combination turned out to be doing those 30 minutes in the morning, then breaking every half hour during the day to take a three-minute walking break. That combination showed benefits in executive function like multitasking and attention to detail, short-term memory, concentration, and visual learning.

There are plenty of ways to get in some morning exercise, and "moderate" means something different for each person. One easy way to test your exercise level: if you’re able to talk, but not sing, during your exercise, you’re probably in the moderate range. Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise could include fast walking, yoga, bicycling, and even gardening or intensive cleaning. So if you want to keep your brain at its sharpest, consider biking to work, tending to your garden, or trying out a new 30-minute class.

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