You are probably aware that regular exercise is good for your health. But have you thought of exercising within the context of your professional development? If not, you should since exercise impacts more than just how you look – it plays a major role in your energy, mood, mental performance and more. Here are some of the top ways that exercise impacts your professional productivity.
Regular Exercise Equals More Energy
Exercise has been shown to increase energy levels and reduce fatigue. This is because physical activity helps to improve blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain and muscles, resulting in increased alertness and mental clarity. By incorporating regular exercise into your routine and drinking enough water, you can combat the midday slump and power through your workday with greater focus and productivity.
Exercise Can Improve Your Mood
Exercise has been linked to improved mood and reduced stress levels. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural chemicals in the brain that promote feelings of happiness and wellbeing. By engaging in regular physical activity, you can reduce stress levels and improve your overall mental health, which can help you stay focused and productive in the face of challenging tasks.
More Exercise Can Equal Better Brain Function
Another major professional and personal benefit of exercise is that it can actually improve cognitive function and memory. Regular exercise has been shown to increase the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which plays a critical role in promoting the growth and survival of brain cells. By increasing BDNF levels, exercise can improve cognitive function, memory retention, and learning ability. This can be especially beneficial in professions that require a high level of mental acuity and attention to detail.
Exercise Can Build Your Confidence
Getting more exercise can help to boost your confidence and self-esteem. By setting and achieving fitness goals, you can develop a sense of accomplishment and self-efficacy that can spill over into other areas of your life, including your professional career. Additionally, regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve your physical appearance, which can boost your self-confidence and improve your overall sense of wellbeing.
How to Add More Exercise to Your Workday
There are many easy ways to get exercise throughout the day, even if you have a busy schedule. Here are some suggestions:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
- Walk or bike to work or school if possible.
- Go for a walk during your lunch break…Going for walks has tremendous and often underrated benefits to physical and mental health. Try going for a calm headphone-free walk and observe the difference in your mood and energy levels.
- Do some stretching or light exercises while watching TV.
- Take a short walk around your office or home every hour or so.
- Stand up and stretch during phone calls or meetings.
- Do some quick exercises during commercial breaks while watching TV.
- Park farther away from your destination to get in a little extra walking.
- Take a walk after dinner instead of sitting on the couch.
- Use a standing desk or take frequent standing breaks if you work at a desk.
If, however, you genuinely feel it’s impossible to get more time away from your desk, there are still exercise solutions you can do right where you are, including:
- Desk push-ups: Stand facing your desk and place your hands on the edge of the desk, shoulder-width apart. Lower your chest towards the desk, then push back up. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
- Chair squats: Stand in front of your chair with your feet hip-width apart. Slowly lower yourself down into a seated position, then stand back up. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
- Calf raises: Stand behind your chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your heels off the ground and rise up onto your toes, then lower back down. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
- Wall sits: Stand with your back against a wall and lower yourself into a seated position with your thighs parallel to the ground. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
- Walking lunges: Take a few laps around your office while doing walking lunges. Take a step forward with your right foot and lower your body down until your right thigh is parallel to the ground, then repeat with your left foot.
Remember, every little bit of activity helps, so even if you only have a few minutes to spare, take advantage of it and get moving!
There are many ways in which exercise can impact your professional productivity. By increasing energy levels, reducing stress, improving cognitive function, and boosting confidence, regular physical activity can help you achieve your career goals and perform at your best. So, whether you prefer running, weightlifting, or yoga, make sure to incorporate exercise into your daily routine and reap the benefits for both your body and your career.
More professional development
- How Managers and Executives Can Lead by Example
- How Sales Leaders Can Cultivate Collaboration
- Better Business Leadership through Collaboration, Communication, and Calm