When gearing up for a mental challenge, physical activity improves mental performance. Strong bodies are a dime a dozen; if you want to impress me, reveal a strong mind. Often, the two are engaged in a harmonious partnership. Whether it’s an interview, test, important conversation or anything needing focus, achieving peak performance involves both your physical and mental epicenters.
During a podcast or radio interview, I may need to recall advanced baseball statistics. Prior to the red light turning on, I’ll jump rope for a few minutes. Before a sit down with one of my sons, I want to be quick on my feet. I may go for a quick walk to get my brain in peak condition. Those young men ask some tough questions! From Boston.com:
Researchers have found that even just one bout of exercise can — even better than a cup of coffee — improve your mental focus and cognitive performance for any challenging task you face that day. A new analysis of 19 studies involving 586 kids, teens, and young adults that was published Wednesday in the British Medical Journal found that short 10 to 40 minutes bursts of exercise led to an immediate boost in concentration and mental focus, likely by improving blood flow to the brain.
I’ve found that some of my most productive conversations, when my mind is at its sharpest and my thoughts string together with grace and accuracy, occur while moving. I feel inspired on a jog with friends or loved ones. I bet you can relate. Part of this is due to serotonin, widely recognized to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness. From Boston.com:
Over the long term, regular exercise is believed to boost a chemical called BDNF — which Ratey calls Miracle-Gro for the brain — that’s instrumental for the development of new nerve connections and brain tissue in areas of the brain responsible for higher reasoning. Slow and steady workouts several times a week also increase levels of “feel good” brain chemicals such as serotonin to increase your energy and mood.
Often, prior to my appearances on Fox Sports Live, I jog around backstage. The people on set look at me like I’m bat-shit crazy, but the tradeoff is worth it. I’ll risk the embarrassment in order to be on point with my delivery while on camera. I see a significant difference in the speed at which my brain fires when I don’t have time to move around. I’m simply not as clear.
Build in a few minutes of movement prior to your next presentation, kill it, and thank me later.