I am a pretty active person; running and getting to the gym a few times a week is something I enjoy. Not everyone does, and I get that. After a long Monday, even the most die-hard gym rat can lose motivation. The pull of the couch is strong. Good! We all need time to recharge. There are, however, more ways to recharge yourself than only “unplugging” or carrying on with the normal weekend routine. Finding something, anything, to challenge ourselves in a new way gives us a boost: mentally, emotionally and physically. If you are slow to start on the weekend, find an activity to get your blood pumping for even just a bit. For example, studies show that running (or even simply jogging) has been linked to improved memory, stress reduction and even a decrease in fatigue. The important thing is to switch it up from time to time. It can be something as simple as taking an early morning walk before your coffee so you can experience the quiet of morning minus the rush of a workday. Take note of what you see, smell and feel on your walk. You can also challenge yourself to something as big as competing in an adventure race like Spartan or Tough Mudder. Take the opportunity to not only test your strength and endurance, but learn how to work with others in a new way in a new environment. Mix it up, move out of your rut and have fun doing it! The book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, explains how even ten minutes of activity, especially trying a new, more complicated physical activity (like learning a new dance step) establishes new connections between brain cells and improves our capacity to learn.
Here’s my challenge to you: Make a commitment today that by this time next week you will lace up your running shoes, try your feet at Salsa lessons or anything to break a sweat. Chances are, you’ll show up to work on Monday both rested and ready to think, act and learn in new ways.