When talking about exercise, people often focus on the physical benefits of working out. But being active in your daily life can also positively affect your mind in ways you might not expect. And research shows that you don’t even have to commit to an intense, lengthy workout to reap the cognitive rewards.
A recent review published in the Translational Sports Medicine Journal concluded that as few as two minutes of aerobic exercise can improve short-term concentration and memory in young adults.
Specifically, working out for two to 60 minutes, followed by a short recovery window (cooldowns are super important!), could help with encoding information for up to two hours. In other words, you might be able to get some of your most productive learning done post-morning-jog.
The review included 13 studies conducted over the course of 10 years, each of which relating to the effect of exercise on learning in adults ages 18 to 25. The exercise included biking, walking, and running — forms of movement that can be easy to incorporate into your everyday life.
So next time you find your mind wandering in the middle of the workday — and trust us, we’ve been there — don’t be afraid to take a break and get on your feet. It might end up being the push you need to refocus on your work.
Plus, there are tons of other non-physical perks to working out, like boosting your mood, upping your energy levels, and helping you get a better night’s sleep.