Hey you … yeah you! With this episode we’re lighting a little tiny fire under you to spend an extra 10 minutes doing something active. Obviously that has health benefits, but it also improves your productivity
How does exercise improve your productivity?
- Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills – it actually physically changes your brain, increasing the size of parts of the brain the control thinking, learning, and memory.
- Researchers at Stanford University found that there was a direct correlation between walking and creativity.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” –Jim Rohn, Entrepreneur, Author & Motivational Speaker
- These brain changes resulted in an improved ability to
- imagine the future and think creatively
- have sharper memories
- learn faster
- prolong mental stamina
- lower stress
Got your attention yet?
With just a tiny investment of time and effort you could be more productive in your creative business.
Aim to do 10 minutes more exercise per week. You don’t have to hit the gym like a madwoman – although that’s cool if you do – walking is great. Yard work is great. Just get your heart rate up, and keep adding more.
Finally, if you need a cheerleader just ask … I’ll be that for you. Send me an email or comment below!
IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL LEARN:
- how exercise impacts your brain
- how businesses are considering exercise a crucial part of their employees’ job
- how little it takes to gain productivity benefits from exercise
- Regular Exercise Is Part Of Your Job – https://hbr.org/2014/10/regular-exercise-is-part-of-your-job
- Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills – https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110
- Get Moving: Working (Out) Your Way To Intense Productivity – https://www.business.com/articles/working-out-your-way-to-intense-productivity/
- Exercise might be more than good for your brain — it could make you more creative as well – https://www.businessinsider.com/exercise-benefits-brain-creativity-stress-2016-11
You can also subscribe to this podcast on our Youtube channel.
Brad Dobson: I think I’m structure.
Minette Riordan: I think he’s structure.
Brad Dobson: My brain’s not feeling very structured right now.
Minette Riordan: It’s not feel very structured. Feeling pretty chaotic, which is what we’re going to talk about in the next episode.
Brad Dobson: Today we’re talking about exercise.
Minette Riordan: Exercise and productivity.
Brad Dobson: Wait, what does exercise have to do with creativity and productivity?
Minette Riordan: It has to do with everything, right?
Brad Dobson: Oh.
Minette Riordan: In the last episode, we shared some of our reflections on diet and the impact of diet on brain function and clarity. The thing about productivity that we believe to be true is so much of it is a mindset, and part of that mindset is very physical in nature. If you don’t feel good, you can’t think good.
Brad Dobson: Yep. That’s pretty much it. In fact, we can go through here is just what I found with a little bit of research in terms of how there’s proven science behind people actually doing better, more creative work with the addition of exercise into their lives.
Minette Riordan: Yeah, and then how that has played out for us personally. We totally love to share our personal reflections and stories of what’s working and what we know should be working and we’re not doing as well.
Brad Dobson: That’s the truth.
Minette Riordan: You want to share the quote?
Brad Dobson: I do. This one’s from Jim Rohn who you probably heard of.
Minette Riordan: We hope you’ve heard of, if not, go check him out.
Brad Dobson: They have him down as entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker. He’s all of those things. “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” That’s all you got. You don’t get to sort of go out of body. Well, maybe you do. But we don’t do that much woo on this podcast. So you’re not actually going to get out of body type of experiences.
Minette Riordan: But it’s funny you say that about the woo because I was looking on a page in a book a friend of mine here locally, her website is BridaGreenViolet.com. She has a …
Brad Dobson: Is that her name?
Minette Riordan: That’s her website name. Her last name is Gunvenson and she has a book about Eat Right Now. Around what we talked about last time about mindfulness, and I was looking through that. She had this whole thing about treating your body like a temple.
Brad Dobson: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Minette Riordan: And how do you show up at your place of worship, whether that’s a church, a temple, a forest, a beach. It’s not about religion but it’s about really seeing your body as the sacred vessel that contains the unique brilliance of who you are.
Brad Dobson: Absolutely. I think we’re all surrounded by articles and media related to get more exercise and all of this stuff, and the benefits of exercise. I think everybody’s kind of clear on that.
Minette Riordan: On the why they should be exercising.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, it definitely get hammered into us.
Minette Riordan: So why aren’t we doing it?
Brad Dobson: I think people think they have to do it all. People think that they have to … It’s like that whole New Years Resolution type of thing. G to the gym. You work out like crazy for three days straight, and then you can’t stand it anymore. You’re too sore and you forget about it altogether. That’s like all habit forming, that’s not the way to do it. The way to do it is just gradually by adding more and more and more in small increments. And also doing those things in the context … Doing exercise in the context of something you enjoy.
Minette Riordan: I had this conversation with a group of people yesterday. So Brad and I spent the last few days at an awesome digital marketing conference called Entrepalooza and was hanging out with some people and talking about exercise and how beneficial weight lifting is to those of us women of a certain age, in particular, to improve bone density and longevity and everything. One of the women was sharing about how she used to just go so hard, and that her body just won’t do that anymore. About really the difference is in her perspective on what just makes her feel better and keeps her health and moving. So she walks five miles a day. She doesn’t run. She doesn’t go to the gym and wear herself out. But she really focuses in on what’s going to make me feel better. What I really resonated with her was around this idea like I walk through my creative ideas. Brad and I have talked about this a lot. I don’t feel good if I don’t walk every single morning. It’s my time of connection, my time of creative thinking, as well as my physical fitness time and just being outside. We’re lucky to live in a place where we have very few excuses to not be able to get outside every day.
Brad Dobson: That’s a good point is that adding nature to exercise lie that is a fantastic option. There’s so many other intangible and tangible benefits from exercising in nature.
Minette Riordan: Yeah, and it’s just this taking time away, time for self, and taking a moment to pause in our otherwise busy days, and focus on what makes us feel better. But Brad’s done some awesome research on the why exercise, like what’s the actual physical reasons why exercise improves both productivity and creativity.
Brad Dobson: Yeah. I found it interesting. One of the first articles I found, and we’re going to list … I’m not going to give you the titles right here, but we’ll list them right here in the show notes. As a business study done and what they found was that you could make a descent case for having your employees have exercise as part of their job. They were so much more functional, so much more creative when they were exercising compared to not exercising. I mean, these are the types of things that big business wants to know because if they could get a 1% improvement in productivity from their workforce, that’s a huge amount on the bottom line. Well, that applies to you as well. It applies to us. Although for me at this point I do so much exercise, I’m not sure whether I’m getting an incremental benefit.
Minette Riordan: Said the Ironman. But I think that what you’ve noticed is that when you don’t exercise, you really feel the difference.
Brad Dobson: Oh yeah.
Minette Riordan: Your body’s grumpy. You don’t have as much focus or clarity during work.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, I don’t even know how to function without exercise at this point for more than just a few days. It’s kind of odd for me not to use my body. That’s me personally, but I love to have that very physical aspect to my …
Minette Riordan: I would say it’s me too. I’m just not as extreme at it as he is.
Brad Dobson: Well, but once again, I built up to that. It took years and years and years to build up to a different level.
Minette Riordan: I love the connection between memory and exercise. I think this is another really important one, and whether you’re a student or a new business owner or you’re trying to connect to clients and you feel like you’re trying to hold on to lots of pieces of information, there’s physical things that happen in your body when you exercise that actually sharpen your ability to recall information much more quickly and not have to go looking for it.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, and like we did for the diet stuff, we’re not … Neither of us are dieticians. Neither of us are physical …
Minette Riordan: Medical doctors.
Brad Dobson: Medical doctors or physical trainers.
Minette Riordan: Yeah, so please don’t do anything we’re saying without talking to your doctor first.
Brad Dobson: But if you go out there and look at the research, this is real science that shows physical changes to the brain when you exercise, and specifically improved changes to the hippocampus and I had another one down there but the parts of your brain related to critical thinking skills, related to memory, related to your creativity. It’s just science. It’s measured things. This isn’t things we’re pulling out of a hat. It really happens when you get some exercise, and it’s not that much exercise.
Minette Riordan: Yeah.
Brad Dobson: That was the interesting point. Typically, what they’re talking about is 10 minutes of elevated heart rate. So don’t think of it …
Minette Riordan: This is very similar to what we talked about with mindfulness as well. So 10 minutes of sitting, meditating. 10 minutes of walking followed by some mindful eating, add up to a productive day followed by a great night’s sleep.
Brad Dobson: Oh yeah. Absolutely.
Minette Riordan: That’s the end goal. But what I wanted to say about the sharper memory piece was that exercise has been one of the number one things to shown to delay the onset of different things from aging, whether that’s Parkinson’s or Alzheimer or dementia, all of those are improved and your chances of having the onset of these happen earlier is diminished by exercise.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, and what you’ll find the things that Minette just listed earlier in terms of mindfulness, meditation, diet, sleep, exercise, these represent a feedback loop. It can be a negative …
Minette Riordan: An inner neurological feedback loop like an actual body or …
Brad Dobson: At all different levels.
Minette Riordan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Brad Dobson: So physiological ones, mental ones, and they can amplify things in a good way or a bad way. Some changes you make to your diet or your exercise can be tremendously beneficial and provide you with more than an incremental gain, and they can also some changes that you make can provide you with more than just an incremental decline in your capability based on what you did. Clearly, if you go out and you try and lift a car, you hurt yourself, and then you’re on the bench for a long time. That didn’t help you.
Minette Riordan: Yeah, and when we say exercise, that’s like a really broad terminology. But there’s basically two specific kinds of exercise you should be looking at, which is cardiovascular, which is increasing your heart rate. Where you’re walking or jogging or dancing or whatever at a faster clip, but you’re still able to talk. It’s not about pushing yourself so hard that you’re exhausted, and the other one is doing some type of weight bearing exercise, right?
Brad Dobson: Yeah.
Minette Riordan: Some type of light weight lifting, even if it’s …
Brad Dobson: An aerobic exercise.
Minette Riordan: An aerobic exercise, and that would include using your own body weight for resistance. So we’re not saying go join a gym. We’re saying that look for creative ways that you can add 10 minutes of strengthening and improved aerobic exercise to your daily regime.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, and another thing that Minette hit on earlier is how important it is to have this be fun.
Minette Riordan: Yeah.
Brad Dobson: There are a lot of opportunities. You may think that an aerobics class is fun and then you get there and it’s just completely overwhelming. You feel like you’re the least fit person there by a long shot. You can’t do anything. But there are so many other options. There are low impact, aerobics in the pool. There’s dancing, like Minette’s taken on. Just so many …
Minette Riordan: It’s fun and overwhelming because I don’t know any of the steps, but I tend to have that attitude that I’m super happy looking goofy and laughing at myself. So I’m dancing around in the back of the class going the opposite direction of everybody else and I’m giggling because if it’s not fun, I won’t do it. The truth is the music is phenomenal. The instructor is super, super supportive and fabulous. It’s a low impact, world dance class. I absolutely love it even though I look goofy, and even though it’s hard and I’m sore afterwards because I haven’t done that kind of workout in a long time, right? And to me it’s in addition to my daily walks, not instead of my daily walks because my daily walks are about physical exercise as well as mental clarity.
Brad Dobson: Right, but that’s just you. I mean, you, dear listener, you might just want to take the dog out for an extra 10 minute stroll just to add that.
Minette Riordan: Want to take the cat for a walk?
Brad Dobson: I don’t want to walk a cat.
Minette Riordan: She’d probably come with us.
Brad Dobson: She’s just lie on the ground and turn into a puddle.
Brad Dobson: But, yeah, aim to add that 10 minutes a day. Gosh, even if you added 10 minutes extra week.
Minette Riordan: To start.
Brad Dobson: Yeah.
Minette Riordan: It’s kind of like your focus blocks where you just every week, like one week you did 10 minutes, and then the next week you did 15 minutes.
Brad Dobson: Right, and you’ll slowly get addicted to that.
Minette Riordan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Brad Dobson: Your body will want more of it and that’s when you know that things are working the right way is that you just wake up that day and say, “Oh, I want to do that again.” And that just becomes that positive feedback loop. And, once again, to tie this all back together, that makes you more productive. We could argue it but it’s the truth in terms of studies that have been done. It’s going to make you more productive in your work. It’s worth it. That 10 minutes extra a day or a week is going to translate into more better and more creative work.
Minette Riordan: Yeah, and I just wanted to add a little bit about how exercise can improve creativity. We talked a lot about how just better mental stamina, clarity, and memory all impact productivity is very obvious. But how does it actually impact creativity? It impacts creativity from the perspective of imagination, being able to think and dream about the future. For me, I often listen to a podcast or a book on tape, and there’s something about walking and listening that makes me creative brain go crazy. I make new associations between things. I’ve been listening a lot to the Accident Creative by Todd Henry lately about this podcast and his book. And he had a whole plan for what you should be doing every single day to make sure you’re delivering brilliant ideas all the time, and he was talking about it more from a study perspective. But one of the things that really struck out for me was how we come up with our ideas is not in a vacuum but it’s from creative association. It’s about seeing connections between things. So walking around the neighborhood, there will be something that will spark a new idea.
Brad Dobson: Right.
Minette Riordan: Being at the gym and listening to a podcast or some music, it’s like when you’re not focused on a task, it frees your brain to dream very, very differently.
Brad Dobson: Oh yeah. Totally agree. And I think of it too in terms of just from a functional or practical standpoint. If you are someone who’s creating things, maybe you’re creating at a desk all day, maybe you’re standing at an easel. Whatever that may be, your physical health impacts whether you’re able to just do that task.
Minette Riordan: Absolutely.
Brad Dobson: So yes, it’s improving your brain health, but gosh, if your back goes bad or you’ve got carpel tunnel or whatever it is because you’re just sitting there all day.
Minette Riordan: Shoulder from using the mouse on my laptop is killing me.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, you’re not going to be the creative person that you want to be because you just physically can’t do it.
Minette Riordan: Yeah. Especially for people …
Brad Dobson: Get off your butt.
Minette Riordan: I think about somebody shared a video on Facebook today that I was mesmerized by of these people painting giant murals on the side of builds in some city, and they’re hanging from scaffolding and spray painting.
Brad Dobson: Are you going to do that?
Minette Riordan: No. I don’t like heights so I would not be the one to do that. But it makes you think about that physical piece. If you’re a sculptor, if you’re a photographer or a videographer, these are physically taxing experiences. Painting like large scale painting, I love painting big, and it takes more energy. I’m standing up. I’m not sitting down. I’m moving around. It’s a lot more physical. It’s takes more just upper body mobility and strength to do that. So I’m very conscious of how I’m feeling in my body and how that impacts my ability to get through the day. I have a bad tendency to just sit at the computer all day and forget to stand up and move around. By the end of the day, I’m moaning and groaning. And then I don’t have any energy or joy to take into family time.
Minette Riordan: Like Brad and I were at a conference all day yesterday and Maggie wanted to play a game last night. I’m like, “No, I’m not there. I’m not there mentally. I didn’t get any exercise.”
Brad Dobson: She beat me too.
Minette Riordan: She beat him at cribbage. We have a smart daughter.
Brad Dobson: Yeah. Quite frankly, as an entrepreneur, as a creative business owner, you need to be more physically able than if you were at a desk, a nine to five desk job. Not to say that you don’t need to be physically able to do those other things, but entrepreneurs …
Minette Riordan: It’s so true.
Brad Dobson: You need to be more. Yeah, you need …
Minette Riordan: You’re not going to the water cooler.
Brad Dobson: Mm-hmm (affirmative). You need to do more, and physical exercise is going to help you do that.
Minette Riordan: I would add to that piece, it’s very isolating to be a home-based business owner, which a lot of you may be, some of you may be working in offices or co-working spaces. But a lot of times as business owners who work from home, we are even more sedimentary and I would encourage people to get exercise in community. Go for a walk instead of going for a cup of coffee with someone, or go to a dance class so that you’re actually seeing human beings like use your exercise to creative more engagement in your life as well as more energy and more productivity.
Brad Dobson: Yeah, definitely. If you want to cheerleader, I will definitely be your cheerleader.
Minette Riordan: Aw.
Brad Dobson: Click on the podcast link on ProfitAcademy.com. Go to the show notes. Tell us what you’re doing. Tell us what you’re doing physically, whether you need help. We’ll be in there in the comments. I’m happy to be your cheerleader.
Minette Riordan: Celebrations as well. So if you’ve noticed that exercise is really having a positive impact on your productivity already and you want to share your success story, we’d love to hear that too. And we’d love to have some iTunes comments from you guys and some iTunes love to know that you’re liking these topics or not liking them. That’s loved too, right? Tell us what you want to hear from us. We would love to get some feedback and some juicy goodness from all of your listeners.
Brad Dobson: Cool stuff. Where are we going with this next week?
Minette Riordan: So we’re going to talk about gamifying productivity. So this’ll be a really fun one to look at how can you improve productivity through a better reward system or better gamification.
Brad Dobson: Awesome. We’ll see you there.
Minette Riordan: All right. Bye.