It’s mid-afternoon. You just ate lunch. You were up early with the kids and had 4 back to back meetings today and now you need to mark off a few more items on your “To Do” list before the end of the day, but when you sit down, you’re suddenly tired. Sleepy. And not motivated. Rather than being super productive as you’d planned, you muscle through the rest of the day guzzling coffee and obsessively checking the clock counting down ‘til quittin’ time. We’ve all been there. Why not head to the gym? Exercise is an excellent complement to productivity, an inspiration of creativity and problem solving, and well known for relieving stress (and making you more pleasant towards your co-workers and reports!) Looking for more reasons to take a break to sweat? Here are the top ten reasons exercise should be part of your workday:
- Increases energy. Increasing your heart and breath rate with movement increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients your blood stream delivers to your muscles and therefore excites your nervous system enough to give you more energy. Even stepping away from your desk to make a lap around your floor will provide a boost of energy to get through a few more emails.
- Increases focus. The same increase in oxygen and nutrients due to exercise also makes it way to your brain, which makes it easier to focus as well as provides the energy your brain needs to…
- Increase creativity. Have you ever had a problem that you needed to solve and worked it out on a brisk walk (or run?) Anytime I need to think, I hit the trails or the road for a run or ride and magically, by the time I’ve finished, I have a plan of action.
- Decreases risk for disease and help keep costs down. Regular exercise reduces the risk for most diseases including our #1 and #2 killers: cancer and heart disease. Healthy employees require less medical care and therefore help keep our health care costs down and more money in our pockets.
- Boosts immunity. Recent studies, such as this one, are showing that regular moderate exercise decreases in the incidence of sickness by boosting immunity. Better immunity = less sick days = less time you’re at home with that miserable cold/flu/or worse.
- Improves sleep. Exercise improves sleep in a variety of ways, but my personal favs are burning up the extra physical energy (the wiggles you get from sitting for too long) and decreasing stress (so you’re less likely to stay awake adding to your “to do” list or worrying.)
- Fosters community and camaraderie in the workplace. Exercising with co-workers is a great way to get to know each other, bond, and increase teamwork skills. Just like having a beer after work, going for a walk or run or taking a class together helps you strengthen your relationship through commonality and makes you feel like “part of the club.” With a better relationship, you and your co-workers will be more motivated and productive when working together.
- Decreases stress. A well-known benefit of exercise, exercise physiologically helps release endorphins in your body (see #9) which increases the feelings of happiness. In addition, exercise provides a mental break, freedom and time to think (...or not think), and relax.
- Improve confidence. Exercise improves both physical and mental confidence. Each time you finish a workout, you accomplish a goal that you set prior - to actually complete the workout. Completing these goals fosters the feelings of personal success and the ability to do hard things (because lifting heavy weights or running a mile or 10 is not easy!) In addition, exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, builds muscle, and helps improve your complexion which helps you feel good about your appearance and boosts your confidence.
- Increases happiness. We all want to be happy, right? With more energy, focus, creativity, less illness, better sleep, the feeling of belonging, less stress, and confidence, not to mention all those endorphins floating around, happiness is more freely accessible. The America Psychology Association Center for Organizational Excellence published in their Good Company Blog “A recent study showed that employees can use work time for exercise or other health promoting measures and maintain the same level of productivity, or higher at work. Employees who spent 2.5 hours a week being physically active were more satisfied with the quantity and quality of their work, reported increased work ability and took less sick time than employees who did not engage in physical activity.”
So, BEFORE you get into the mid-afternoon slump, grab a WORKOUT and get back to your desk feeling energized, refreshed, and ready to buzz through the rest of the work day! It’s well worth the investment (not to mention we, your faithful, energetic recreation and fitness team love to see you!)
Want to read more on the benefits of exercise during your workday? Check out these great articles: