As little as two minutes of aerobic exercise at moderate to high intensity can improve attention, concentration, and learning and memory functions for up to two hours, researchers at Jönköping University in Sweden found.
The study, which was a review published in Translational Sports Medicine looking at previously published studies, looked at 13 prior studies that involved different methods of exercise such as walking, running, and biking in young adults between ages 18 to 35. The studies were conducted between 2009 and 2019 and researchers said there was a link between exercise and the ability to learn.
Researchers said that just two minutes to one hour of activity “improved learning memory, planning, and problem-solving, concentration… (and) verbal fluency,” per CNN.
While the studies say it benefits younger people, it’s worth noting that this can be extended to working professionals.
As CNN notes, the link between exercise and learning ability “suggests that exercising before you work or study could be beneficial.”
“This systematic review strongly suggests that aerobic, physical exercise followed by a brief recovery before encoding improves attention, concentration, and learning and memory functions in young adults,” researchers wrote.
The link between exercise and increased work production isn’t a new one.
A study from 2011 found that devoting work time to physical activity can result in higher productivity, which benefits both employer and worker because it results in more high-quality work with less actual seat time.
“This increased productivity comes, on the one hand, from people getting more done during the hours they are at work, perhaps because of increased stamina and, on the other hand, from less absenteeism owing to sickness,” Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz and Henna Hasson, the researchers behind the study, said in a press release.
A study published in The Journal of Leadership and Management last year found that high-intensity workouts can decrease overall stress and even boost levels of job satisfaction. The study looked at seven common types of workout routines like weight training, competitive sports, aerobics, running, cycling, walking, and yoga, before finding that cycling offered the most benefits pertaining to reducing stress and increasing job satisfaction by 19%.
“Frequent, long, challenging exercise is worth it for entrepreneurs, even with their busy schedules. Time working out is time away from the business but it’s a healthy trade-off. It’s not going to hurt your business and it’s going to be good for you,” one researcher said.
Recently, cycling was linked to even keeping people younger due to how regular biking exercise can affect the walking metabolic costs in older adults. Biking at least 30 minutes, three times a week can slow down physical decline due to age compared to others who opt for walking as exercise.