Working from home has its advantages but it comes with a whole other set of challenges, especially in a pandemic. The FrozenDrugBanker challenge was a way to encourage our team to go play in the snow and remember to take a break.

From January 1st to March 31st we convinced half our team that going outside in freezing cold temperatures would be fun. The other half cheered us on from the comfort of their warm homes. As a data-driven company, we naturally had metrics to report.


The Results

Each month we worked as a team to reach goals that collectively hit our targets and over the course of 3 months, 528 activities were recorded. One participant discovered that there is such a thing as ice bikes. Yes, ice bikes. We played on the ACC Ice wall, shared ski track updates, and rewarded our ice-cold walks with warm drinks. Looking at the numbers, it’s safe to say we were successful in finding ways to connect and stay healthy this winter.

A special acknowledgment goes out to the 15 days of consistent -20C temperatures during the month of February.


The Benefits

We all know getting outside and moving is good for your health, but we wanted to back it with scientific evidence. We are a company that loves evidence-based data after all.

According to neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki, exercise has immediate and long-lasting benefits on our brains. A simple rule of thumb is exercising 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes with at least one of those days dedicated to aerobic exercise. Doing this produces long-lasting benefits that directly affect our prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, which assist in preventing incurable neurodegenerative diseases.

The immediate effects of exercise are observed with increased levels of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine which all assist in improving our mood, attention, memory. These chemicals increase our energy while also reduce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Essentially, getting your body to move is one of the best things you can do for your brain.


Connecting Remotely

Some of the smaller impacts we found from the challenge was finding ways to stay connected as a remote team. We had great success in creating a DrugBank Strava club, developing a spreadsheet, and starting a slack channel dedicated to our outdoor adventures. We learned some of us can run marathons each week, that winter biking is more fun than it looks, and also shared secrets about the best spots to adventure to. Many pictures, stories, and videos were shared each day. Even when it was too dang cold, we found ways to keep moving inside while keeping the conversation going.


As we see the sun coming back, the snow melting, and the temperatures rising it's getting easier to get outside and break up the work-from-home routine. Hopefully, next Winter we'll get to play in the snow together.


Bibliography

Suzuki, W., & Basso, J. (2017, 03 28). The Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways: A Review. Brain Plasticity, 2(2), 127-152. https://content.iospress.com/articles/brain-plasticity/bpl160040

Tocino-Smith, J. (2020, 10 30). 10 Neurological Benefits of Exercise. Positive Psychology. https://positivepsychology.com/exercise-neurological-benefits/