@studiocatherine Not in the slightest! Our printers just require a little extra time.
Hulsbosch packaging designer, Lotte Genillard, explains the indisputable logic behind brain food and exercise.
When discussing ways to keep inspired and creatively alert, it’s really nothing new to hear a designer say, ‘I engage in all the usual activities such as visiting galleries, creative talks, indulging in travel to open my mind by experiencing different cultures and influences, and accessing the labyrinth of online design blogs and inspiration sites.’
Admittedly, I find myself spending increasingly more lunch times and evenings delving into this international resource, engrossed and inspired by the wealth of fabulous art, photography and design that is available at the click of a button. While this has become a daily habit, I am beginning to question the impact of these extra hours looking at a computer screen, when probably one of the best sources of mental stimulation would be the small act of putting my trainers on. Let me explain.
When you imagine an average ten hour day sitting at a screen, then multiply that by five days a week, then by 52 weeks a year, that’s a crazy if not slightly depressing amount of time in sitting position, and one that is serving to not only compromise our hamstrings, but did you know it can actually have quite an impact on our dynamic and creative intellectual activity?
Physical exercise for most of us is a necessity, albeit a reluctant one, that we fit into our busy life and work schedules when we can be bothered before or after a long day at the office. I am the first to put my hand up and admit that with tough deadlines that must be met, and the mental exhaustion that ensues, the gym is often the first thing to be sacrificed. However, I have recently learned that when I do make the effort to get to the gym it does more for me than just simply getting my legs moving and heart pumping. It de-stresses me and actually helps my cognitive thought.
The positive impact of aerobic exercise on physiological functions, particularly processes to do with the heart, has been extensively studied and validated. Whilst research on creativity has investigated factors that may be influential in facilitating creativity; such as work environment, curiosity, relaxation, and reward, only recently has the potential benefit of aerobic exercise on mental processes and creativity, been undertaken.
John Medina a molecular biologist who has had a lifelong interest in all things to do with the human brain, has written a wonderful, user friendly and comprehensive book titled Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School (Pear Press, 2008). He provides readers with a list of ‘12 Brain Rules’ to guide them to get the most from their own brains and asks the question, “Is there a relationship between exercise and mental alertness?” The answer is a resounding yes.
Medina writes, “A lifetime of exercise can result in a sometimes astonishing elevation in cognitive performance, compared to those who are sedentary. Exercisers outperform couch potatoes in tests that measure long-term memory, reasoning, attention, problem-solving, even so-called fluid intelligence tests.”
What can we take from this? Well, we need to get exercising in order to increase blood and oxygen flow to our brains, sharpen our minds and harness the ability to think outside the box, and according to Medina. Just 20 minutes a day will improve our cognitive performance. Medina goes on to say ”Physical activity is cognitive candy.” Say it like that, and it sounds rather delicious and empowering doesn’t it!
In relation to a section talking about performance of school children, Medina suggests that ‘instead of having students always sit at desks, have them walking on treadmills’ as a means to increase their cognitive development; the same could apply at work. I do love the idea of installing treadmills in breakout areas, and actively encouraging and integrating exercise into the working day, making it the norm to go and get an oxygen fix by taking time out on the treadmill.
So the next time you’re using your creative brain to think of new excuses why you’re not going to the gym today, perhaps it’s time to change your opinion of the gym and see it as less of a chore or an obligation, and as a place of inspiration.
Thumbnail image: M. Kondratenko, from The Noun Project.