How Exercise Boosts Professional Performance
With gyms reopening, now is the perfect time to learn about the added benefits of exercise on your health and well-being outside of the obvious.
There’s often a stigma attached to exercising regularly, with gym-goers often being labelled unfavourably. These stigmas aren’t necessarily unjust however, with a myriad of ‘influencers’ posting pictures of themselves on Social Media, posing with physiques that can only be attained through vast amounts of dedication and a level of strictness that is extremely unattractive to most.
However, this should not detract from the value that physical activity can (and should) have on your lifestyle, improving mental wellbeing in several ways that will benefit you in both a personal and professional environment.
Changing how you view exercise is critical to improving your overall wellbeing. It should not be seen as a punishment, but more as self-improvement. This article will discuss some of the added benefits of exercise that will help you change this view.
Outside of the obvious physical benefits of exercise, endorphin release is the most commonly associated advantage of physical activity. Have you ever completed some form of exercise and a short time after felt energised even though you’ve just put your body through pain? That’s to do with endorphins! In short, endorphins are chemicals in the brain that block pain and produce a natural ‘high’ – who wouldn’t want that? In a recent blog written by our Director of Energy Services, Dan Smith, we looked at the physical, mental and environmental benefits of cycling to work.
When a person engages in high-intensity exercise, the body and brain produces hormones and neurotransmitters which have a positive impact on mood, memory, energy levels, and sense of wellbeing. After a good workout, your muscles are tired, but you feel more relaxed.
You may also feel a sense of accomplishment, which boosts your self-confidence and improves your sense of wellbeing. Thanks to your workout, the tension and stress in your muscles and your mind are reduced. So essentially, in the days succeeding your exercise, you can address challenges in the workplace with a more positive outlook, while also potentially being more productive.
Another word that gets thrown around a lot when talking about health is inflammation. Generally, inflammation should be avoided due to its connections with long-term illnesses, however it is also linked with depression. So mental wellbeing is, once again, significantly improved through regular exercise.
Stress is often unavoidable in the workplace. The pressures of deadlines and performance targets can get the better of anyone.
But exercise can be a great antidote to stress, helping you attack each day with a revitalised outlook on the challenges that lie ahead.
Being physically active promotes mental wellbeing and reduces stress by:
-causing your body to release chemicals which help lift your mood and make you feel more relaxed
-focusing your attention away from issues that make you feel stressed and onto what your body needs to do to run, kick a ball, or swing a racquet
-helping you release pent-up stress and tension and making you more resilient to pressure.
Exercise at Work
Too much time spent sitting at a desk or doing repetitive tasks can contribute to the development of back, neck and arm pain and other health problems.
Breaking up your day so that you rotate your time spent doing other tasks, and moving and stretching regularly can help you think more clearly and be more efficient and less stressed.
-Take the stairs instead of the lift at work and, where possible, walk further to use water coolers and other office equipment
-Rotate your tasks. Alternate sending emails with going to speak to people.
-Wear a lightweight headset and stand up to make some of your phone calls. Don’t wedge the phone between your head and shoulder
-Take all your breaks and get away from your workstation. Go for walks at lunchtime, or during your breaks
-Don’t skip meals and do drink water regularly.
Out of Hours
Ensure that you help yourself by making the most of your time away from work and your scheduled break times you are offered.
Avoid taking your work home with you where possible and make the most of your free time to do the other activities you enjoy.
Combine this with eating well and getting a good night’s sleep, and you’re much more likely to feel mentally refreshed and ready to face the working day.