Josh Eisen sent us a compelling Linked-In post by trainer Beth Kanter citing the latest in neurocognitive research that finds MOVING YOUR BODY is a great built-in productivity app.  She confirms what we’ve discovered ourselves as we sit for hours writing Improvised Life every day. Josh put it into words:

improvising to figure out supporting working rhythms, and the ingredients you’ve discovered for success: movement, stillness, eating the right things, exercise, good light, good sleep. Most importantly, how to listen and learn your personal rhythms which can, and do, change from day-to-day and seasonally… It’s all about finding a work rhythm from within rather than imposing someone else’s without regard to your own makeup.

Kanter cites a stunning brain scan done by Dr. Chuck Hillman from University of Illinois Neurocognitive Kinesiology Laboratory, which does research on the relationship between physical fitness and cognitive function:

The scan shows a comparison of the brain after sitting vs walking for 20 minutes. There is more red in the walking scan which shows more connections in the brain and more ability to concentrate and that is good for learning. The sitting brain is really disengaged.

Kanter recommends “Body Breaks”, incorporating some sort of movement into your work every ten minutes, even if that means walking while you talk to someone. We’ve devised other methods: we get ourselves OUT of our work space and into the park for a fast walk and shift of view, or climb a rocky hill, or just wander at whatever pace we want. It is amazing how something as simple as walking  can be so transforming.

sally schneider
sally schneider

If we can’t go outside, we MOVE indoors:

doing exercises a trainer showed us that involve no special equipment


putting on some music and dancing

-even walking in circles

whatever we do, we make sure it’s FUN

More ideas from Improvised Life here.



Bibliothèque Nationale de France via Europeana
Bibliothèque Nationale de France via Europeana

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