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Exercise & Productivity at Work

You want to increase productivity? Go and take an exercise break.   2011-10-09

Work less & produce more

Studies have shown that people who exercise during working hours attain the same or even higher production levels and suffer fewer absences from work. This was the result of a recent study by researchers at Stockholm University and Karolinska Institutet which is being published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The study showed that people who exercised during working hours still attained the same or higher production levels with fewer work hours. Experts explain that the increased productivity comes from the stamina which physical activity suffuses us with and also from less absenteeism owing to sickness. It is evident that physical activity strengthens our immune system.

When we exercise, the levels of serotonin in the brain rise and endorphins are released that create natural energy in the body. This improves cardiovascular performance and our immune systems get a boost as well.

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Benefits of exercise

Wellness programs initiated by employers consistently show benefits for both employers and employees. These benefits include:

  • Employees are less stressed.
  • Reduction in work-related stress improves professional and personal interactions in the work place.
  • Production levels improve with fewer resources.
  • Exercise before work has shown to increase work productivity.
  • Increase in productivity leads to self confidence amongst employees, reduces stress levels which in turn imbues other areas of life with energy.
  • Concentration is improved and re-energised.
  • Employees make better choices about diet.
  • Relationships at home also improve.
  • Employees make better lifestyle choices.

The many benefits of exercise lead to a boost in productivity and result in a workforce that is healthier and more energetic. Employees are happier to be at work and they are less depressed. This in turn leads to a healthier lifestyle both in the work place and at home as well.

In practice

In an ideal world our employers would give us time to exercise during the day because this is the healthy thing to do both for them and for the employee. Our world is far from being ideal however and most of us are expected to work a full day.

All is not lost because it is possible to combine work and physical activity with not too much effort:

  • Try getting up that bit earlier to go for a jog or a walk. Sacrifice the comfort of that extra half an hour in bed. Studies show that those who exercise before work, are more effective in the workplace.
  • Park your car some distance away from your workplace and have that 10 minute walk to work.
  • Don’t eat at your desk. If you have an open area close to your workplace, go out and breathe some fresh air. It will clear your mind.
  • You might want to join a gym.

These are just some ideas to help you make physical activity an intrinsic part of your schedule.  Analyse your day or even your week and identify opportunities for exercise. The returns will make the investment worthwhile.