If you’re sitting at your desk feeling a bit ‘blah’, you might just find that exercise will give you the kick up the backside you need in order to raise your spirits, increase your motivation and boost your efficiency. Read on to discover how and why exercise and productivity go hand in hand.
How does Exercise Boost Productivity?
Exercise has several positive effects on productivity, including:
Exercise has been shown to enhance cognitive function, which leads to better focus and concentration. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which helps to provide it with the necessary oxygen and nutrients to function at its best. It also increases the production of chemicals such as dopamine, which can improve attention and motivation.
Stress can be a major barrier to productivity, and exercise is a great way to relieve it. Physical activity reduces the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol in the body, which can pep up mood and help to reduce anxiety.
Exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on mood as it promotes the release of endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters. Regular exercise reduces symptoms of depression, which can have a significant impact on productivity.
Memory function is improved when we exercise. Why? Because there’s an increased production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes the growth and survival of neurons in the brain. This can lead to better memory function and retention.
Exercise helps to boost creativity, which is a valuable asset in many workplaces. Physical activity can develop divergent thinking, which is the ability to generate new ideas and come up with creative solutions to problems.
Exercises that Help Productivity
Exercising to boost productivity doesn’t have to mean hardcore HIIT classes or pounding it out on the treadmill at the gym. There are plenty of other less intense activities you can try, such as:
A low-impact exercise that is easy to incorporate into your daily routine, walking provides a range of productivity benefits. Walking helps to increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which enhances cognitive function and focus. Taking a walk during a break or between meetings can also reduce stress levels and boost mood. Walking in nature also provides additional benefits, as exposure to green spaces improves mental well-being and creativity.
Like walking, running increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, leading to enhanced focus and brain function. Running also releases endorphins, which helps to reduce stress levels and bolster mood. Additionally, regular running can increase resilience and persistence, which are valuable qualities in the workplace.
Strength training involves exercises that target specific muscle groups using weights or resistance, and it can offer unique productivity benefits. Strength training improves posture and reduces the risk of injury, which will ease discomfort and distraction during work. Furthermore, strength training is great for physical strength and endurance, which can enhance mental resilience and productivity.
Yoga combines movement with breath work and mindfulness practices. Doing yoga has been shown to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation, which helps with focus. Yoga also improves flexibility and range of motion, which can reduce physical discomfort and give you better posture. Yoga also enhances mental clarity and creativity by promoting concentration and self-awareness.
Easy Ways to Find Time for Exercise in Your Working Day
Finding time for exercise in a busy working day can be challenging, but there are several easy ways to make it happen. Here are some suggestions:
Take the stairs instead of the elevator
It may not seem like much, but choosing to use the stairs instead of the elevator can add up to a significant amount of exercise over time. Taking the stairs provides a quick burst of cardiovascular exercise, raising your heart rate and getting your blood pumping in the process. Swapping the elevator for the stairs is a small change that can have a big impact on your overall health and well-being.
Use your lunch break
During your lunch break, go for a walk, run or attend a fitness class nearby. This will help to energize you for the rest of the day and provide a much-needed break from work.
Walk or cycle to work
If possible, consider walking or biking to work instead of driving or taking public transport. This will help you to fit in some exercise before and after work, and also save you money. Plus you won’t need to sit in traffic. Win-win-win.
Take active breaks
Instead of taking a coffee break, take an active one. Stand up, stretch, and take a short walk around the office or outside. This will break up long periods of sitting and provide a quick burst of physical activity. If you have a smart watch, turn on the setting that reminds you to stand and walk every hour.
Suggest a walking meeting with a colleague
Walking meetings provide an opportunity to combine exercise with work-related discussions. Instead of sitting for an extended period, walking meetings will get your blood flowing and increase your energy levels, allowing you to be more focused and productive during the meeting.
They can also be a great way to build relationships with colleagues. Walking and talking breaks down barriers and creates a more relaxed and informal atmosphere. This can lead to more productive and collaborative working relationships.
Find an exercise buddy
Make exercising a social activity. Find a coworker or friend who also wants to exercise and schedule a workout together during your lunch break. This can provide accountability and make exercise more enjoyable.
Exercise boosts productivity by:
- Improving focus
- Lowering stress
- Boosting mood
- Helping memory
- Inspiring creativity
These exercises will help to maximize your productivity:
- Strength training
Easy ways to find time for exercise in your working day:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Use your lunch break to exercise.
- Walk or cycle to work.
- Take active breaks in which you stand, stretch and go for a short walk.
- Suggest a walking meeting with a colleague.
- Find an exercise buddy to make you more accountable.