We all know how important exercise is to our health, and I’m sure we’ve all been bombarded with images and messages from influencers on social media or ‘fitness bloggers’ boasting the positive impacts of exercising regularly. Now, I’m no fitness expert, I am not super fit, and my body type would probably be classed as “works out but also definitely enjoys eating pasta”. However, over the past 4 months or so I have started exercising on an almost daily basis and feel so much better for it. Not just physically, but perhaps even more importantly, also mentally. This has then translated into a positive impact on my work.
Now it’s all good and well to say that you will exercise but life and work can get in the way – trust me, I know! When I first left uni and began working full-time I really struggled with the adjustment for the first 1.5-2 years. I stopped exercising, I ate out a lot/got takeaway a fair bit and my body definitely paid for it. It has only been this year where I finally have found a good balance.
Yes, work is important, but you will always be busy no matter what. I work long hours and understand the struggle of trying to fit everything in, but I have now got myself into a routine where I make myself go to the gym on my lunch breaks.
I’ve only made some small changes to my everyday routine but have seen major benefits. A quick workout can improve job performance, productivity and the overall workplace environment. When I come back from a session at the gym my mood increases drastically, I feel overall more positive and find myself more energised and productive for the afternoon.
Research has proven that exercise reduces stress; can improve depression; increases your level of endorphins, helps with your sleeping patterns and improves your mood. Who wouldn’t want this? And what employer wouldn’t want a happier, less stressed and more productive workforce?!
Sometimes I am just too busy at work to take my full lunch hour break and go to the gym. If that’s the case, I’ll go for a quick 20-30min jog. Or even go for a power walk. There is always something you can do. Everyone needs a break. Get your co-workers involved! Two of the workouts I do each week are with work colleagues.
Some benefits of exercising with your colleagues include having more fun, being kept accountable and getting a better exercise high. A study conducted of rowers in an Oxford University, found that team members felt a greater endorphin rush when they trained in sync with their teammates versus the rowers who practiced alone (Cohen, Ejsmond-Grey, Knitch and Dunbar, 2010). Synchronized group activities create a similar shared sense of euphoria — so learning Zumba or going to a boxing class with your work mates for example, elevates your exercise high!
We are only human – there’s only so long that you can sit at your desk staring at a computer screen. You’re not going to be productive if you just sit at your desk all day feeling stressed and anxious. Take some time for yourself and get moving. From personal experience, I can guarantee it will make you feel so much better. Not once, have I ever regretted a workout, and neither will you!
For more ways to stay stress free, check out these four helpful tips – How to De-stress During the Work Week
Georgia Narayan – Consultant