Get Off Your Ass and Be More Productive. Really.

Sigmund Freud and Aristotle knew this long ago, but a study conducted at UCLA and published last week shows that standing up is good for your brain. The research found that sitting and sedentary behavior correlates with a thicker medial temporal lobe, a region that is crucial to learning and memory. To sum up the research, the more time you spend on your ass, the less likely you are to learn and remember.

Millennials win again. Those damn hipster tech campuses are actually on to something. Employees are encouraged to meet up for “walking meetings,” strolling the quad and meandering through the rooftop gardens. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are famous for walking meetings and Facebook just put in a half-mile loop on the roof of its new headquarters.

Stanford researchers also found that “walking releases your filter…[and] opens up the free flow of ideas.” We know Obama was a big fan of the walk-and-talk meeting. Richard Branson says, “One of my favorite tricks is to conduct most of my meetings standing up. I find it to be a much quicker way of getting down to business, making a decision and sealing the deal. When given the opportunity I often like to take things a step further – literally, with a walking meeting.”

If you work in a more traditional office space and can’t stroll a creative campus, you should at least try to stand up while you work. One study showed that standing desks significantly improved executive function (managing time and paying attention) and working memory. So, stroll with the sagacious philosophers, astute entrepreneurs and other creative thinkers, and get off your ass!

Dr. H.