Regular exercise improves mental performance. One of the reasons for this is because exercising releases a protein in the brain called ‘brain-derived neurotrophic factor’ (BDNF for short) which is know to promote healthy nerve cells in the brain. Studies into BDNF have found clear links between high levels of BDNF and improved memory and recall.
Fifteen to twenty minutes is all you need to make a difference: a quick run or cycle, lifting a few weights or an aerobic workout in front of a DVD. As well as improving memory and recall, a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine also found remarkable changes in heat maps of the brain, showing a huge jump in the level of brain activity after even such a small period of physical warm up.
A Productivity Ninja doesn’t need hours and hours down the gym or be running marathons (both of which our head ninja, Graham, can vouch for as extremely pleasurable activities, but ones that can be difficult to fit sustainably into a busy routine). It will almost feel like cheating, but doing ‘just enough’ exercise can actually be all you need.