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Want to be more focused? Stand up from that computer desk more often!


Do you sit long hours in front of your computer? Here's neuroscience proof that you should stop doing it and take frequent breaks to be more focused and productive.


The picture above shows a brain scan from children who took a 20 minutes walk that measures their cognitive performance. After just 20 minutes of walking, children could understand much better what they were reading and were overall more focused. Their cognitive control increased, too (cognitive control determines our ability to stay focused).


One particularly interesting finding is that following acute bouts of walking, children were better able to allocate attentional resources and block out the distractions. In the environment that is more noisy - visual noise in this case - kids were "better able to gate out that noise and selectively attend to the correct stimulus and act upon it." In other words, taking short walking breaks does help you not only to stay focused, but also to block out all the distractions (including digital!) and continue staying focused.


These outcomes are confirmed by another study that found that the top 10% of productive users work for 52 minutes, followed by a 17-minute break away from the computer.


Research is clear: make frequent physical breaks your regular practice and you'll see, how much more focused you become.


If 17 minutes every hour is not possible, do mini-breaks of 1 minute of any kind of physical movement every 30 minutes for the best effect. If you find it difficult to remember, set up the alarm clock for a few days, until it becomes natural.

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