Study: Train the body, stimulate the mind

Half an hour of exercise doesn't just get the feel-good endorphins flowing, it actually boosts brain-power according to a new study by University of Adelaide neuroscientists.

Just one session of aerobic exercise, researchers discovered, was enough to create changes in the brain that could boost memory and motor skills by boosting neuro-plasticity.

"The more 'plastic' the brain becomes, the more it's able to reorganise itself, modifying the number and strength of connections between nerve cells and different brain areas," lead researcher Associate Professor Michael Ridding said. 

Previous research had found that regular exercise had positive effects on the brain, but this latest research showed that even a short bout of exercise done in isolation can provide the benefits, making it a great productivity solution.

Five office exercises:

– Use your commute: Walk or ride a bike to work if it's an option. If you drive or take public transport, stop a few blocks from work and walk the rest of the way. 

– Get outside: Get some work-mates together and go for a walk or a jog during your lunch-time. It's an easy way to stretch your legs and get to know your coworkers.  

– Standing desks: Sitting for extended periods slows your metabolism but a brief bout of exercise every so often can get it back up where it should be. Standing desks are a good option for this, or when you get an in-office message walk over and talk to the person rather than relying on email.

– Get some equipment: You don't need to turn your office into a gym. A resistance band is small enough to fit in your pocket and it's a great way to add a little strain to an office workout. 

– Stretch time: The afternoon tends to be a time when energy levels start to flag. Getting everyone out of their desks for a minute to do some group stretches is a good way to perk them back up.

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