New research suggests that working out in the morning improves cognitive performance

By Nicole Ganglani | Photo by Matias Islas/Unsplash 

One of the main disadvantages of working an eight-hour desk job is that it leaves little opportunity for movement. When your body experiences little to no movement, chances are you’re bound to feel more restless, tired, and inactive throughout the day which could affect your performance at work.

That is why exercise plays a huge role in your lifestyle. Besides providing an energy boost, exercise also improves decision-making and creativity; it also helps your brain work better throughout the day. When is the best time to exercise you ask? Research says mornings.

According to a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, an early session of moderate-intensity workout improves your Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), especially during times when you find yourself sitting all day. BDNF is a protein found in the brain that plays a key role in the survival and growth of the brain cells. When the BDNF is activated in high levels, this results in faster comprehension and helps your memory and brain’s executive function throughout the day. The BDNF is activated after an endurance workout so it’s ideal to do a quick run or bike session in the morning.

Besides providing an energy boost, exercise also improves decision-making and creativity; it also helps your brain work better throughout the day

The study was backed up by data examining the time of exercise among healthy and older adults ages 55 to 80 years old. Researchers divided the participants into three groups: One group that sat for eight hours straight with no exercise in the morning, another group that sat for an hour then exercised for 30 minutes before sitting again for 6.5 hours straight, and a group that got up every 30 minutes throughout the morning.

Results showed that those who got up every 30 minutes performed better in the executive function test, which include decision making, organizing, planning, and prioritizing compared with the other two groups. Michael Wheeler, one of the authors, said that simple activity or exercise in general could significantly improve cognitive health and performance at work. Wheeler also said that one day, we may even be able to identify which specific exercises can enhance memory or learning in general.

So if you want to perform better at work or improve your cognitive skills in general, try to break a sweat in the morning.

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