Need to Clear Your Mind? Do This One Activity for Just 15 Minutes

The ultimate cure if you need to relax.

When someone says they're having one of those days when they just can't seem to focus on a task, people will often suggest engaging in a concentration exercise, such as gazing at a candle for a fixed period of time, or practicing meditation.

And, indeed, a recent study found that practicing meditation for just 10 minutes a day can offer a massive boost to brain health in older adults, and another recent study has revealed that doing Thai Chi can significantly increase the brain's metabolism. Further research has indicated that practicing yoga can enhance neural connectivity and experience improvements in both visuospatial memory and verbal acuity.

But if the New Age approach isn't really your thing, and you're working on deadline, you might be pleased to hear that a new study published in Acta Psychologica suggests that the best way to give your brain a quick boost is by taking a short jog.

Researchers recruited 101 undergraduate students and asked half of them to go for a 15-minute group jog and the other half to spend the same time on group concentration exercises. They assessed each individual's perceptual speed, visual attentional control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility before and after the exercises using the Trail Making Test, which requires connecting a set of 25 numbered and lettered dots as quickly and accurately as possible. They also assessed their self-rated energy levels.

Surprisingly, the research discovered that the students who were in the jogging group not only felt more energetic than the ones in the other group, but they also showed a lot of improvement in mental speed and attentional control.

As such, the paper concluded that "a brief bout of moderate intensity exercise can improve the efficiency of certain cognitive processes through increases in feelings of energy," though they noted that "further research is required to evaluate the duration of benefits and to determine whether these apply to other populations."

And for more ways to give yourself a quick boost, check out the 50 Little Ways to Make Your Life So Much Easier.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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