Do you ever hit a slump at certain points of the day? No matter how productive we all want to be, we’re all prone to a little dip in concentration, and who could blame us? We’re inundated with temptations to focus our attentions anywhere else than our tasks at hand – we can watch Youtube or check social media anytime, anywhere. But that’s only half the battle when it comes to staying mentally active, there are a number of other contributing factors – frequency of exercise, the state of your diet and ways of working to name a few.
We’ve zoomed in on each of these areas to dissect how you can retain and improve concentration throughout the day.
The Impact of Exercise
As a majority of our day-to-day working activities can be conquered at our computer screens, us humans are sitting down more than we ever have. And with that comes an onslaught of issues - you only need to gaze over the potential repercussions detailed on the NHS to understand.
One way to combat this and keep yourself mentally active is to engage in regular exercise, many studies have linked physical activity to concentration levels. A study on Dutch school children found that pupils became better at multi-tasking, resisting distractions and retaining information when classes were broken up with 20 minutes of aerobic exercise.
With this in mind, here are some ideas on how to stay active:
Walking & Getting Outside
One of the biggest excuses for not exercising is a lack of time. Well, there are plenty of ways to make exercise work in your favour when it comes your day-to-day which we tackled in our healthy eating and exercise for busy lifestyles. You could try walking to work, or if that’s not achievable at least make a part of your journey on foot. Otherwise, you can make the most of your lunchbreak by taking a walk around the block or in a nearby park. Being outside in nature alone holds many benefits in itself. Alongside a boost in focus, it also helps to reduce feelings of stress and positively impacts our general health.
A simple way of boosting your mental activity throughout the day is to shake up your seated position at your desk for something different.
Standing desks have already swept offices all around the country, and for good reason. A study in Minneapolis looked into the effects of standing desks in an office environment over a 7 week period, the study concluded that workers experienced a reduced feeling of fatigue and stress after using standing desks. Elsewhere, standing desks have proved to reduce back pain and strain and may lower blood pressure.
The Impact of Diet
Your diet has an incredibly powerful effect on your mental state throughout the day – you need to stay loyal to your meal times and fill it with a good balance of foods.
Don’t Forget Breakfast!
A lot of people hold off from eating breakfast until they get to work these days. In fact, it’s better to eat within the first hour of waking up – your naturally low sugar levels upon waking will be fed which, in turn, keeps you energised and mentally active for extended periods of time.
In terms of snacking, berries, bananas and nuts are your friends. These foods contain the most rewarding properties when it comes to needing a boost of energy which in return allows you to remain focussed. Here’s some wider reading on those foods:
- We broke down the benefits of berries in an in-depth article written by our nutritionist Lucy-Ann.
- We also looked into nature’s most nutritious nuts which dives into the nutritional properties of various types of nuts
- For a wider selection, check out vegan foods for energy
Our TREK bars at Natural Balance Foods consist of a simple mixture of fruits, oats and protein crunchies so you know you’re getting nutritional, no nonsense snacking. Explore the range of TREK Protein Energy Bars and TREK Energy Chunks to stock up your snack box.
Iron deficiency is directly linked to feelings of fatigue so it’s important to keep iron present in your diet to keep yourself mentally active throughout the day. Iron helps the body to produce a vital strand of protein called hemoglobin which assists in the passing of oxygen from your lungs to your body. Pistachio nuts, a sea vegetable called dulse and lentils are all great examples of iron-rich foods.