We are conditioned from an early age that we must “sit still” and “behave” in the classroom. Children who need to move around are labeled as abnormal and ascribed with a “disorder.”
If you get up and walk around during a meeting you might be accused of being disruptive.
Productivity gurus talk about discipline to get your butt in the chair. But not everyone works effectively with their butt in the chair. Some of us need to move more.
A recent New York Times article reports on a new study that shows that people who move daily are more creative.
The study finds that active people come up with more and better ideas during tests of their inventiveness than people who are relatively sedentary
Movement helps us innovate.
This is hardly news to any person who has experienced the burst of inspiration that a good workout provides.
Evidence from scientific studies shows that physical activity influences how we think.
Our brain changes in response to physical activity, because we infuse our brains with more blood, oxygen, and nutrients.
In rodent studies, rodents who exercise produce more brain cells and perform better on tests than their sedentary peers. And in people, exercise has been shown to sharpen memory and thinking ability, as well as boost our moods.
In various studies, participants came up with more original ideas when they moved their bodies, as opposed to when they sat still, even in the same room.
Easy to Forget
On the other hand, we need the reminders because we forget this in the most crucial moments: in the classroom, in meetings, when sitting on Zoom calls, and even when working on our own.
There’s a reason my fitness first ritual has been the cornerstone of my morning routine for over 7 years. It’s not just about getting exercise before I start to work; it’s an integral part of my work. Whether I’m exercising for 30 minutes or 3 hours, work is happening in the background. And the exercise primes me to work more effectively.
On the other hand, sitting at a desk rarely puts me in a creative mindset. I’m more likely to be productive sitting on the floor, sprawled out at a conference table, or in the corner of a coffee shop (those were the days).
Movement is Not a Disorder
It’s time to accept that the traditional model of what it “should” look like when we are working doesn’t work for every person, and to embrace the differences in how we generate ideas and do our best work.
Zoom may show only our head, but it’s important to remember that our brains are attached to bodies, and our bodies are designed to move.
Healthy and engaged minds require movement in the body.
The only “disorder” is the refusal to accept movement as a natural human need.