Save time by making time for your body!

Colleagues, friends and family come to me for advice on how to live healthier lives. And I always recommend a consistent workout routine, per one’s comfort level, as an important ingredient. I believe other important factors are nutritious food and a regular practice of mindfulness.

But the response is that folks are not able to make time for workouts from their busy schedules. I want to emphasize, through my experiences, that finding time for workout may free you up to do more as a result of increased productivity and better focus. I strongly believe that working out 3 to 5 times a week provides good return on investment as far as time is concerned. And a regular practice may keep you healthy over a long period of time.

I compared a week with and without work out for return on investment through time savings via increased productivity and better focus. I eat healthy (lots of fruits and veggies, drink 2 to 3 liters lot of water) and work out 3 to 5 times a week. I try to do at least 3 challenging workouts a week. And up to 2 not so rigorous workouts (short run or a long walk with some simple exercises) per week. Here is an example of time savings in a week when I followed by health routine. These time savings include savings at work and non-work tasks.

Better posture: Challenging workouts re-align my posture. This makes me sit with my back straight & shoulders neutral/relaxed. I don’t need to continuously remind myself of sitting straight. It also re-aligns my posture when standing. I stand upright the day after I work out. Good sitting posture have immense benefits. I have tested some impacts of bad posture on me through mindfulness. One big negative impact of bad posture is sub-optimal breathing. This means sub-optimal oxygen going to lungs & sub-optimal blood flow to body parts. This in turn lowers the body’s energy levels. This leads me to reduced focus & productivity! A good workout a day or two days before saved me about 30 mins a day as a result of better posture.

Muscle Strength: Regular workouts build some muscle which gives the strength to make the body go faster. I am able to run around and get more done during the day at work and home. As we grow old it gets hard to build muscles. A regular workout routine saves me about 30 mins a day on average due to better muscle strength. Muscles support heart health and they also support and balance us as the body grows older. Hence regular workouts have the potential to give you healthier & longer career if you wish to keep working on problems you are passionate about in your 60’s & 70’s, like I do.

Better state of mind: A healthier body makes us feel better and puts our mind in a positive state. I feel sharper, more relaxed. This in turn enables better relationships, better decisions and more collaboration. This saved me about 30 mins a day.

Better eating habits: A regular workout schedule reduces the need to have coffee and other ways to keep us focused. While you get motivated to walk more it reduces the trips to the kitchen for coffee/tea and soda. It also motivates to eat better/healthier thereby amplifying the energy levels of the body. This saved me about 15 mins a day.

Now comes the moment of truth. Did I save any time through the week by working out? Yes I did! Here is the math:

Time spent working out in a week: 7 to 8 hours. This includes the commute to the gym. You can save time by doing simple workouts (digital guided or self-created) at or near home. 
Time saved per week: 10 to 12 hours.

This means approximately 2 to 4 hour savings per week. Which is 100 to 200 hours of savings a year. This could be more or less for you depending how much time you need for a workout. And don’t forget the usual lifelong health benefits of working out.

My week without workout and good food showed me reduction in above positive factors and pro-longed absence of challenging workouts lead to me to taking more time to finish things (at work and at home) that I would normally do faster. Hence I believe making time for workout does not actually take away time from other priorities but helps us get through our priorities in faster & smoother way.

Hopefully this article and facts from my first hand experiences motivate you to start a workout routine. I would love to hear from you if you see the same benefits in productivity & focus as I do.