Monday, September 20, 2010

The Importance of Exercise on the Entrepreneur's Mind

Written by Allison Way, writer and videographer for Think Big Partners and bizperc, two of Kansas City's newest entrepreneurial resources. 

In a recent study conducted last month, researchers recruited schoolchildren (age nine to ten) to conduct a series of physical and psychological exercises. The children ran on a treadmill to test their fitness and were then asked to complete a series of cognitive challenges which involved watching directional arrows on a computer screen and pushing certain keys in order to test how well the children filtered out unnecessary information. The results? The children who were more fit scored better on the tests.

Dog-n-Jog, which took place last week in KC,
is a great way to keep in shape to encourage
a more creative mind. 

After scanning each of the children’s brains using magnetic resonance imaging technology, the researchers found that the fittest children had a larger basal ganglia (a part of the brain that helps maintain attention and coordinate actions) as well as an enlarged hippocampus (which helps one to focus on complex memory). Together, these two parts of the brain allow some of the most intricate thinking. The researchers concluded that being fit in young people may “enhance neurocognition.”

As a matter of fact, it may not only be young people whose brains are affected by fitness. In a study done in Sweden a year ago, researchers found that 18-year olds who had better fitness also had higher I.Q.’s. The fittest of the fit were then more likely to excel in more lucrative careers. Georg Kuhn, professor at the University of Gothenburg, says that although there is no direct evidence that exercise leads to a higher I.Q., researchers believe that aerobic fitness produces specific growth factors and proteins that stimulate the brain.

So what does this mean to the everyday entrepreneur? This means that exercise can actually improve small business. The more aerobic exercise that a small business owner or entrepreneur may indulge in (especially during childhood), the better off they are setting up their own future. Exercise can stimulate creativity. So whether it’s that next business marketing strategy you’re looking to enhance, or a new logo that you want to tackle, aerobic exercise and physical fitness can actually improve the results of your brainstorming!

For Kansas City business owners, there are tons of ways to stay aerobically fit while still upholding a career in entrepreneurship or becoming an entrepreneur. Even a twenty-minute walk on a lunch break can improve an entrepreneur’s brain functionality. So get out there: take the dog for a late night jog around the Plaza, go swimming at Ocean’s of Fun on the weekend, or commute to work via bike. There are many ways to enhance your physical fitness without sacrificing your work time.

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