If you’re never as productive as you want to be, especially at work, then the answer to your problem may not lie where you think. As surprising as it may be, exercise could be the solution. We’ve all heard that exercise is good for us – amazing, in fact. It provides us with more energy, amps up our immune systems, improves our sleep quality, and on and on. But have we considered all the ways that exercise impacts our brains?
It turns out that exercise is immensely helpful in improving work productivity. As this New York Times article notes, exercise boosts memory by making our hippocampi grow and allowing our brains to process information faster. But it doesn’t just stop there. Exercise has the capability to improve our focus, our creativity, and our learning abilities. Perhaps most importantly, it reduces our stress, giving us a significant mood boost. And this means that exercise is directly related to making us the most efficient we can be, especially in the workplace.
It’s simple – exercise makes us feel good because, as humans, it’s something we are meant to be doing. But because we are so busy managing our professional and social lives, we often don’t find time to prioritize our health. We put off exercise, thinking “I don’t have time to workout! I’ve got important deadlines to meet!”
But here’s where a change in perspective could help. Since exercise can actually alter the way our brain works, it allows us to concentrate more easily, get work done quicker, and have more time to do the things we truly enjoy. Simply working out 15-30 minutes a day can actually reduce the hours of work we need to put in because we’re capable of achieving more in the same amount of time. This means that putting in a little work now to get off the couch and do some cardio or bike or play a sport will let us work smarter, not harder in the long run. And then we don’t have to say, “But there’s no time!”
So, what type of exercise is best for increasing productivity?
Again, the answer to this may surprise you. Low-intensity activities like walking can help you just as much – if not more – than high-intensity workouts. If you’re really looking to focus on improving your efficiency in the workplace, then exercises like walking and yoga will be your go-to, as studies have proven that even just a short walk every day can bump up your brainpower. But if those aren’t your preferred workouts, that’s ok. What matters most is just getting your body moving rather than remaining inactive and sitting all day.
How can I start a workout routine that sticks?
I would say the most important thing to consider is what type of physical activity you actually enjoy. You might be thinking you don’t like working out at all – but if you think about it longer, you can probably list at least 3 exercise-related activities that sound pretty good to you. If you go into your workout with a positive mindset and a little enthusiasm, you’re going to get more of the benefits. Another great way to stick to a routine is to rope in a friend or family member. You can challenge each other to keep going. And last, it’s always important to let it go if you miss a day or two – that’s the best way you’ll get back on track with your schedule.