We’ve been told time and time again how important physical exercise is to both our physical and mental health. We were taught this in school growing up, read about it in articles and on social media, we see advertisements and so much more. Although it can get old to hear, there is some truth to it. Maybe you’re wondering how physical activity can impact your work life. Can it impact your productivity? How can we use physical exercise to optimize ourselves professionally?
Our bodies are strong, durable and do whatever they can to keep us healthy. However, our bodies can’t do all the work alone; we need to put some work in, too. We know it can be hard to fit a workout session in an already busy schedule, but it’s important to remember that physical exercise doesn’t have to mean taking an hour out of your day to go to the gym. So, what are some other ways we can include physical activity into our daily routine?
Walk Whenever you Can!
One easy way to get that exercise in is by walking whenever it is realistic to do so. Now, if your work is a 30 minute drive away, maybe not a great idea to walk. However, if you need to run to the store really quickly to grab just a few things, and it is a 15 minute walk away, take the walk! Not only is it great for your physical health, it also can help clear your mind and give you time to think or listen to your favorite music or podcast.
Join a Dance, Cycling or Yoga Class
Not everyone is a huge fan of going to the gym, which is completely understandable. It can be so intimidating watching everyone around you, some of whom may seem five steps ahead. It can be easy to compare yourself to others and get discouraged when you feel you aren’t progressing as fast as you hoped for. If a typical gym isn’t your scene, try signing up for a class!
These classes are offered in most areas, usually with multiple days and time frames to choose from. You could try a fitness dance class, which usually is accompanied by upbeat, fun music that will get you wanting to dance it out. If dance isn’t your thing, try a yoga class for a more calming, peaceful experience. Check out our recent article about yoga here. Try out all the classes offered until you find one for you!
How much does Physical Activity Really Impact your Productivity?
So, what’s the science behind exercise and productivity? Do they really go hand-in-hand? Research shows that in fact they do.
As you get older, your brain naturally decreases the amount of brain cells it produces. Regular physical exercise can actually help prevent this from happening, Brookings said. “In other words, by the time they reach their 50s, 60s, and 70s, people who exercise might have more brain cells than their more sedentary peers – giving them a major advantage in the workplace.” So not only are you taking better care of your body by exercising, you are helping to advance yourself professionally.
Physical exercise also helps give you more energy throughout the day. It seems surprising, since physical activity can seem exhausting and wear you out, but research has shown the results to be the opposite. You feel more energetic because your body is producing more mitochondria and ATP, which is the main source of energy in our bodies. Exercise stimulates mitochondria and ATP faster and in higher amounts.
Participating in physical exercise sets you up for a successful day. It can motivate you to complete tasks you may have been procrastinating. Burke Britton Financial Partners said, “One study showed that workday exercise not only improves well-being, but participants noted a 72 percent improvement in time management and workload completed on days when they exercised.”
Exercise in the workplace is even being encouraged in today’s world. Many corporations and companies have been setting aside time in the workday for employees to exercise, whether this be by taking a walk, providing a gym membership, etc. This is beneficial to the companies in the long-run, as employees will be more productive and energized, leading to higher overall productivity and better outcomes.
Physical activity is important for both mind and body. If you are finding yourself feeling in a “slump,” get your body moving and notice the difference in your productivity!