Jan
26
2016

Exercising Equals Increased Productivity

by Mae Williams for Men's Health

Exercise Increases Work Productivity. Photo courtesy of everydayhealth.com

There are many benefits for starting an exercise program in the New Year. (Or actually any time of the year). We spoke of many of them, from better health to increased brain activity in our last blog post. One benefit of exercise is that it can help improve your work productivity.  Exercise can help boost job performance in many ways, including being more productive, being alert at work and getting your tasks completed faster. However, failing to exercise can have a negative impact on your ability to perform effectively and could be putting your health and your job in jeopardy.

During the work day, taking work exercise breaks, such as a brisk walk during a break or even taking an exercise class during a lunch break will help influence brain activity by making you feel more alert, better able to focus and cope with stress. Also, better cardiovascular health will reduce the risk of becoming injured on the job. 

Today, most workers are becoming more and more sedentary, which increases worker risk of inactivity-related injuries and illness. Exercise has helped with flexibility, anger, depression, fatigue issues and overall mood. It helps to promote self-efficacy, relieves anxiety, depression and enhances energy. When you feel great about yourself, your mindset at work is bound to be optimistic, which increases job performance and career growth.

Benefits of Exercising on Work Performance

What are some of the correlations of increased work performance and exercising throughout the work day? Researchers have found many benefits of exercising and doing better at your job these include increased brain activity, less stress and less illness, causing the employee to be absent from work.

Increased Brain Activity-For increased brain activity, exercise should be paired with or precede complex motor or cognitive tasks to help build brain neurons and give them something to do after exercise.  Activities like figure skating, rock-climbing, soccer, running, brisk walk or swimming help with doing regular desk duties including reviewing data reports or participating in a web conference. The key is to find ways to challenge your body and brain during the work day. One way that exercise can help boost productivity is by making you more alert. When you exercise, you are increasing blood flow to the brain, which helps sharpen awareness and ability to tackle the next project. It will help you feel more awake at work and perform to the best of your ability. If you don’t have time for a full cardio workout, walking during a lunch period or taking the stairs instead of the elevator will help stimulate blood flow to the brain.

Stress Reliever-Regular exercise will help you better deal with stress, which is common in the workplace. When you are able to deal with stress constructively, it can lead to improved relationships with co-workers and a more secure future with your employer.

Illness Prevention-Regular exercise including walking, running, weight lifting, swimming or jogging can reduce the risk of developing types of illness and disease. This means fewer sick days. Exercise reduces your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart disease, all of which can interfere with work productivity. Employees who are fit are also less likely to get hurt on the job, that those who are not. A fit and healthy employee is less likely to have an overexertion injury than one who is less fit. Fit workers will recover faster, require fewer days off and are less likely to need surgery, take extended health-related leaves or quit because of health-related reasons.

Early Results of a Steady Exercise Program

We wanted to check in with Mae Williams to see how she is doing with her exercise program and how it is helping her mentally, physically and at work. Mae has been doing the steady work out program at ASAP Fitness for twelve weeks. The biggest improvement she has noticed since starting exercising is little-to-no lower back or shoulder pain and more physical stamina. She is stronger, her balance is more aligned and she is feeling more confident.

Her trainer, Jacque, gives her different exercises that work various muscle groups. She shows Mae how to do things right and corrects her form while she is doing the exercises. Jacque also explains that it is important to understand your body’s hormones (or lack of) and how eating certain foods affect your energy, fat and muscles. Mae has also integrated body melting exercises for her tissues, this helps with stiffness and soreness.

Mae also exercises at home. For fluidity and flexibility, she does Tai Chi exercises in the morning, three times a week. She recommends the Tai Chi Paradigm DVD by Calvin Chin, which can be purchased at Men’s Cuts. Mae describes his exercises as calming and easily done at home. They are perfect for stiff sore joints.

Mae reflects that her wake-up call was finding out that a childhood friend had a hip replacement. “When it happens to someone you know who is close in age you start to think about the things you can do to avoid having to have surgery.”  Mae’s friend sits a lot for her professional position and was not one to exercise. Anyone sitting at a computer for hours at a time will put a lot of strain on their hips. Mae also learned that all occupations can cause strain on various parts of the body through repetition of use. So, it is very important to recognize these bodily functions and do exercises and stretches specific to those areas that have to be strengthened to continue mobility & circulation. If you sit for a job you should do hip stretches, lower back, quad and core exercises to get the tissue, muscles, blood flow circulating so that stiffness and tightening do not occur. There is a book called the China Study written by M.I.T professors. The book talks about how the United States has more hip replacements than any other country because of our lifestyle. As a hair stylist, I have to strengthen core, lower back, shoulders, neck and stretch hamstrings and hip flexors. Mae wishes there was a tax deduction for exercise programs. She said, “We get reductions as a non-smoker, why not take it a step further and really give people an incentive to do something.”