At Catalyst Ranch, Chicago’s unique meeting venue, our goal is to ensure clients have the most productive offsite session they’ve ever held.  The meeting rooms at the Ranch are designed to engage the senses, encourage purposeful play, and meet the needs of each group with customized room configurations!  We all know that humans are not designed to sit in one place for eight hours a day, yet many jobs require us to do exactly that.  So, when clients come to the Ranch, we provide several options to get up and move around, so you can keep the blood flowing and the brain working so you can have a productive day!  We call this area of the Ranch Philosophy “Space to Roam.”

Catalyst RanchSpace to Roam

It’s important to free up thinking by giving meeting attendees space to wander and explore. Instead of giving you many small, windowless rooms to use as breakouts, we’ve incorporated them into your meeting room. There’s typically a central presentation area with breakout areas along the perimeter of the room. Our rooms feature natural sunlight, Play-Doh for restless fingers, and a variety of seating options from giant pillows to rocking chairs.  Instead of being trapped in one seat throughout the day, meeting attendees can stretch their legs and re-engage their brains.

And don’t forget to roam out to the common area for a treat from the candy dish or the afternoon snack service!

Science!

The human brain has the amazing capacity to be reshaped throughout one’s lifetime.  A recent study published in The Journal of Comparative Neurology, explored the brain function in active versus sedentary rats.  Now, obviously, we are not rats, but stay with me here!  Over the past twenty years, many neurological studies have proven the positive effects of physical activity on the brain.  Few studies, however, have focused on the negative impact the brain suffers as the result of a sedentary lifestyle, and the results of this study indicate that inactivity can change the structure and functioning of the brain, just as activity does.

In this study, half of the rats lived in cages with running wheels and ran about three miles per day.  The other half lived sedentary lifestyles in cages without wheels.  After almost three months of resting or running, the animals were injected with a dye to color certain neurons in their brains.  Not surprisingly, there were drastic differences in the between the two groups.  While the brains of running rats remained relatively unchanged, the sedentary rats were more sensitive to stimuli and more likely to overstimulate the sympathetic nervous system, increasing blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.  The good news here is that the brain is changeable, and it is never too late to make a change for the better!

Spruce up your meeting!Anniversary Party2011_135

Looking to add physical activity and ignite the imaginations of attendees at your meeting?  At Catalyst Ranch, we offer complimentary Energizers, a variety of exercises and games, designed to break the ice, heighten focus and concentration, and encourage folks to think outside the box.  Help your colleagues get moving in the morning or avoid the after-lunch slump!  For more information how Energizers stimulate the mind and body and increase creativity and productivity, check out this past blog post!

We also offer a variety of self-facilitated activities and exciting Meeting Mix-Ins that can help to start your meeting with a bang, add a little zip at the mid-point, or finish with a flourish!  Check out the Party Collaborative and our other exciting Meeting Mix-Ins !

How do YOU incorporate physical activity into your busy work day?  Please share in the comments!!