Why Your Brain Needs You To Take A Walk

For a lot of us, it’s our nature to work as long and as hard as possible, sometimes (most of the time) to the detriment of our own wellbeing. We put in overtime, we cut lunch short, we keep pushing back the time we say we’re heading home, and oftentimes that behavior can be justified because we are busy people. But I’m here to tell you, being busy doesn’t justify sacrificing your well being both physically and mentally. Not enough breaks leads to more than enough frustration.

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While sometimes taking a break may seem counterintuitive, they are helping your brain out whether you feel it our not. Here’s a few quick reasons you should turn off the computer:

  • Breaks can help prevent you from getting “decision fatigue”, which can lead to making decisions without fully analyzing them, as well as procrastination.  

  • “Movement Breaks” are crucial to both your physical and emotional wellbeing. When you are chained to your desk all day you are increasing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity. Even something as simple as a 5 minute walk can help lower these risks and I don’t know about you, but I want as far away as possible from anything on that list.  

  • You are able to restore your motivation easier when you take a break. When you are focusing on a task that requires a prolonged attention, your mind can’t operate as well for long durations. It’s best to schedule “brain breaks” for yourself so you can re-energize. 

  • Increase in productivity and creativity can be seen when you take breaks. When you push yourself and work for long stretches of time, you’re only pushing yourself towards stress and exhaustion, which we all know leads to not-so-pretty things.  

So we know our brain deserves that coffee break (and that swing by the snack machine is a plus too), but how should we take breaks? Don’t worry your little heart (or brain), we have some ideas for you right here:

  • Take a walk or exercise. A quick walk around the community, spin class, or some quick yoga stretches will do the brain good and being outdoors is a double whammy! (Unless you’re in Texas like us and it’s 112 degrees. Then maybe opt for an indoor activity that has a window with a view!) 

Sprouter Insider: Finding a quiet nature path or calm park to go for a walk in is my favorite way to get a brain break. And of course, bring your four legged fur baby too if you can! 

  • Changing your environment and getting away from your work space will give your head the space it needs to be rejuvenated. 

  • Relax while eating your fav lunch or yummy snack. Maybe you have a local restaurant or coffee shop that always makes you feel relaxed, if so, go there and take some time with yourself to decompress. 

  • Get Creative! If what you are focusing on is something that requires a lot of analytical and logical thinking, then do the exact opposite during your break! It doesn’t have to be anything be and spectacular, even just doodling can be the creative outlet you need to warm up that think tank again. 

Sprouter Insider: Adult coloring books are da bomb! They are a great creative outlet to let you relax your mind for a while and feel like a kid again. 

You know you the best, so determine what your ideal work time is and try to be mindful of that throughout the day, even if you have to set reminders on your phone to make sure you take that well deserved break. For me, unless I’m just really in the zone, I can only go for about an hour at a time before I need a little break, even if that’s just a quick 3 minute stroll. If you do find yourself in that “zone” and you are just pumping out that to-do list like nobody’s business, then keep going as long as you feel up to it. I’m not here to ruin anyone’s groove, there is power in the groove! Just know your limits and give yourself the benefit of the doubt most of the time and take the break! Your brain, body, and coworkers will appreciate it.