You know that parent who uses their kid as an excuse to pet strangers’ dogs? Guilty.

Whether or not you are a dog lover like me, you know that Fido should not be constantly locked up in a kennel and needs 2-3 walks daily. It is important for their well-being to stretch, get fresh air, and explore their surroundings.

Now let’s look at your average desk jockey.

He or she is sitting in a desk for the majority of the day and then drives home seated. Once home, it is hard to resist the temptation to collapse on the couch for a few hours with food and a drink in hand. Most desk workers are chained to a chair all day and do not get sufficient daily movement and fresh air.

It is time to start taking yourself on walks.

Being glued to a desk all day and neglecting to incorporate regular movement negatively impacts your productivity in the office and overall health. Movement helps pump oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to the brain, which maximizes your mental performance.

A recent study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that walking (and exercise in general) increases the size of your brain’s hippocampus, which consequently improves your memory. Furthermore, research participants who exercised regularly learned faster than their sedentary counterparts.

Recent studies are also suggesting that walking in nature versus on a treadmill will amplify your brain’s ability to concentrate. Renowned brain researcher Frances Kuo, PH.D. conducted studies linking a reduction in ADD symptoms with time spent in natural surroundings. Her theory is that being in a natural environment refocuses your brain’s pre-frontal cortex, which is heavily utilized in a typical office setting. The brain’s ability to retain focus is often diminished when a person fixates on a particular mental task for a prolonged period without a mental and physical hiatus from the cubical. A mid-day walk around the block can help.

Incorporate walks and fresh air into your schedule this week, and watch your productivity and focus increase. Try the following tips:

  • Instead of meeting your friend for coffee, catch up while taking a stroll in a local park.

  • Prior to calling a loved one, lace up your sneakers and walk around your neighborhood during the phone call.

  • When the weather is nice, go outside to eat your lunch in order to get some fresh air.

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