Exercise will give you a mental and physical edge in everything you do.
Fortunately, just 10-15 minutes of vigorous exercise a day is enough to have a positive impact on our productivity. Now is a good time to start making exercise a part of your daily routine, it is never too late. However, even with all the best intentions in the world it can be difficult to incorporate exercise into a busy schedule, but fear not, that is why we have come up with 5 simple steps to make exercise a part of your work day and see your productivity levels soar.
- Find a workout that you enjoy. If your activities are monotonous, make you feel inept or you just hate doing them, you are unlikely to continue exercising. Choose a workout that you find fun and you will stick with it!
- Use short bursts of exercise. Forget the all or nothing mentality, you don’t have to spend hours in the gym doing tedious movements to reap the benefits of exercise. In fact, according to advice by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, short bursts of cardio of just 10 minutes can have a profound effect on your mental and emotional health and therefore productivity. Even the busiest of us can find 10 minutes in our day to do a physical activity.
- Schedule a time each day for fitness. Make exercise an integral part of your daily routine. Set up reminders, for example lay out your gym clothes each evening as a cue to exercise the next day. Consistent exercise relies upon it becoming automatic. Plan your activity when you feel most motivated, if you are not a morning person don’t plan on exercising then, make it easier on yourself.
- Sneak in more movement during your day. Analyze your typical work day routine and consider ways to add exercise. Even small additional activities can add up over the course of the day. Forget the car! Get on your bike. Walk manageable distances. Avoid the elevator! Park further away from the office. Get off the subway a stop earlier. Walk more. Move at work – walk while on the phone or during coffee or lunch breaks.
- Make it a social event. You are more likely to make that Yoga class or Gym session with some positive peer pressure from friends or co- workers. Together you will stay on track. Add in a little competition, this will keep the work out fun and exciting. Set goals for each other that will force you to exercise regularly in order to achieve them.
According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans we need to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity i.e. brisk walking every week or 75 minutes vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (running) to stay healthy (or we can mix up the two). They go on to say that on two or more days a week we need to do muscle strengthening activities working all major muscle groups.
There are many excellent reasons to exercise – benefits include increased productivity, reduced stress, improved mood and better quality of sleep. Researchers at Stockholm University and Karolinska Institutet found that taking a portion of work time for exercise can produce the same or higher productivity levels i.e. you can maintain the same productivity levels working fewer hours and benefit from better health. It is a win win situation. The study concluded that the increased productivity came from increased stamina and reduced absenteeism as a result of better health.
Think you don’t have the energy to add exercise to your daily routine? It may be counterintuitive, but regular exercise reduces fatigue and boosts energy levels. It is more difficult to be productive without taking care of your body. So, what are you waiting for? Schedule in exercise time, lay out those gym clothes, you can start right now.