We all know that the more we exercise, the healthier we get. In fact, regular exercise can reduce your chances of serious illnesses like diabetes, cancer, stroke, and heart disease by as much as 50%! However, did you also know that working out could help you to become a more productive person too?
Going to the gym or investing in a regular workout routine isn’t just about getting a great six-pack or building your bulk. With the right workout strategy, you could become a more valuable member of the team at work, improve your chances of reaching your personal goals, and even set yourself up for that all-important promotion.
How Exercise Impacts Productivity
While it’s often regarded as general knowledge that eating healthy and working out will help you to live better in the long-term, it also has a direct impact on your performance today too. A study conducted by Briston University asked 200 employees to evaluate themselves on a daily basis – one with an exercise regime, and one without. The people with an exercise strategy achieved scores that were:
- 21% higher for concentration at work.
- 22% higher for efficiency at work.
- 41% higher for feeling motivated at work.
The even better news in all of this is that you don’t necessarily have to work out vigorously to see significant results. Research suggests that low-intensity workouts are far more effective when it comes to reducing feelings of fatigue. Additionally, similar studies have found that memory, attention, and problem-solving are all much better after a period of low to moderate-intensity exercise.
Whether it’s yoga, golf, or dancing, being more productive through exercise is all about finding the strategy that works for you. So, why exactly does exercise make you more productive? Let’s look at the facts.
Exercise Makes You Happier
When you work out – whether it’s going for a run or hitting the weight benches, the process releases chemicals called “serotonin” and “endorphin” into your body. This triggers the pleasure sensors in your brain that make you feel good. In fact, researchers have found that people who exercise achieve the same level of positive results as those who take certain anti-depressant medications.
Exercise and endorphins are natural cures for depression, and even if you don’t classify yourself as depressed, they can help you to overcome those moody moments when you just don’t feel like going to work. The happier you feel, the more productive you become. After all, we’re all more compelled to go above and beyond to achieve our goals when we feel our best.
Exercise Makes It Easier to Manage Stress
Exercise not only makes you generally happier, but it can also give you the tools you need to deal with one of the biggest productivity-killers in the workplace – stress. Anyone who’s worked in a corporate environment before will tell you that it’s an extremely stressful experience. If you can make sure that you don’t let stress knock you down by getting plenty of exercise, then you’re sure to perform better in the office.
People who exercise build the resilience and happiness they need to minimize their feelings of stress. The less stressed and anxious you are – the more you can focus on the job at hand.
Exercise Gives you a Bigger Brain
Don’t worry – working out isn’t going to leave you with a head that’s just as swollen as your muscles. However, according to a process known as “neurogenesis”, the rate at which brain cells grow will often begin to decrease the more we age. This is why many of us start to suffer from problems regarding concentration and forgetfulness as we get older.
The good news is that you can reduce your risk of losing brain cells and generate new ones with regular exercise. When you’re active, your brain produces more brain-derived neurotrophic factor – or BDNF. This helps to create new neurons and protect your existing ones too.
Exercise Stops You from Getting Sick
While regularly going to the gym won’t necessarily mean that you’re never going to be unwell again, it can reduce your chances of developing certain kinds of disease and illness. There’s a considerable amount of research out there that demonstrates how regular, moderate amounts of exercise can improve the immune system. The stronger your immune system is, the less likely you are to fall victim to things like influenza and the common cold.
Exercise also reduces your risk for other major diseases like the ones we mentioned in the intro, as well as heart disease, hypertension, and more. The fewer sick days you have, the more productive you’ll automatically be.
Exercise Gives You More Energy
While we all love a fresh cup of coffee to help us wake up in the morning, exercise could be a great way to boost your energy levels too. Working out stimulates the blood flow to the brain, which helps to keep the mind brisk and alert – perfect for when you’re focusing on a specific task.
Additionally, exercising also creates more mitochondria in your brain, which helps your mind to function more readily. This ensures that you have more energy running through your body when you need it most. On top of that, the more you exercise, the more your strength and endurance will build over time, so the little physical tasks that once left you exhausted will no longer have the same impact.
Exercise Improves Memory
Finally, studies have also proven that the memory works better in people who are active. Essentially, your brain is a muscle, and like any other muscle in your body, it needs regular exercise to work properly. While most of that exercise will come from less physical things like reading, and challenging your brain with complex tasks, you can also improve your brain’s performance with physical activity too.
The more you tell your brain it needs to release chemicals, monitor your performance, and keep track of your body during activity, the more of a workout it gets. Additionally, exercise can also improve blood flow, which helps to limit your risk of things like vascular dementia.
While exercise might not be the cure for instant productivity, it could be the best way to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your time at work. Whether you’re trying to become more productive for the sake of a potential promotion, or you need help achieving your personal goals, it all starts with the right workout routine.
About the Author: Raj Jana is the founder of JavaPresse, a forward-thinking and environmentally-friendly coffee company. He launched his company with a passion for coffee, and the hope that he could help people transform their morning drink into something meaningful each day.