Climbing Helps You Work Better

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Climbing wall at Google Headquarters
Climbing wall at Google Headquarters

Climbing walls at the office may seem like one of those luxury perks only available to Silicon Valley techies, but a new study published in Perceptual and Motor Skills suggests that this trendy workplace accessory could help their employees be more efficient and productive. The aim of this study was to see if proprioceptive activities completed over a short period of time can enhance working memory performance. Proprioception, the awareness of body positioning and orientation, is linked to to working memory in the brain.

The study showed that compared to participants who did yoga, or no exercise at all, those who engaged in “proprioceptively dynamic activities” — which included climbing, beam balancing, navigating over, under and around obstacles, as well as lifting and carrying awkwardly weighted objects — substantially increased their working memory capacity.

“This research suggests that by doing activities that make us think, we can exercise our brains as well as our bodies,” University of North Florida’s Ross Alloway told Forbes. “This research has wide-ranging implications for everyone from kids to adults. By taking a break to do activities that are unpredictable and require us to consciously adapt our movements, we can boost our working memory to perform better in the classroom and the boardroom.”