Increasing Productivity Through Exercise
Productivity seems to be a major struggle these days. Why complete an unpleasant task when you don’t have to? Why not just procrastinate until the due date of an assignment, or until your room gets so messy that you can’t stand it? Why not just lay in bed all day? It’s all too tempting. But we as humans value a productive society. The life goal for many is to be successful and happy, which probably includes doing something with your life. Oddly enough, I often find myself thinking about Isaac Newton’s first law of motion — An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. So how can we, as people, get in motion — and stay there?
Studies show a major correlation between exercise/an active lifestyle and productivity. It is obvious that exercise can keep you healthy physically, but it also improves your health mentally and emotionally. The term “runner’s high” is coined from the brain’s production of endorphins after exercise, which act as natural anti-depressants, and can set your mind to a positive outlook (“Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress.”). You may be exhausted and sore after a tough workout, but you may also feel like you can take on the world — or at least your to-do list.
Although physical activity uses energy, it also creates it. The mitochondria in your body’s cells produce ATP, the chemical your body uses as energy, and exercise stimulates the growth of new mitochondria (Pozen). A study by the American Journal of Physiology suggests that aerobic exercise causes mitochondrial growth in not only the muscles at use, but also the brain. So, we have more energy not just to push ourselves physically, but also mentally!
Exercise can also make you feel better about your body. It makes you feel strong and a sense of accomplishment, which can make you want to accomplish more. Although it may be hard to break a couch-potato lifestyle, once you get moving it can be addicting. You’ll want to see your personal progress, and it can make you feel better both about your appearance, as well as your abilities. Studies show that confidence and mindset, both of which are positively affected by exercise, directly correlate with performance and ability (Kaufman). This concept is especially important for females, whose confidence is often significantly lower than males due to stereotypes that have become ingrained in society.
Personally, I often find myself with a good dose of self doubt. But when I get up and get moving, I feel re-centered. I feel energized, strong, confident, and happy. I feel like I have more of a purpose when I am productive, and when tasks are completed the burdens are slowly lifted. So, if you are currently and object at rest, use your willpower as an unbalanced force to get moving. And if you are currently an object in motion, good job, and keep it up!
“Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress.” Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2017. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469#main>.
Kaufman, Scott Barry, Ph.D. “Confidence Matters Just as Much as Ability.” Psychology Today. Psychology Today, 08 Dec. 2011. Web. 12 Mar. 2017. <https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beautiful-minds/201112/confidence-matters-just-much-ability>.
Pozen, Robert. “Exercise Increases Productivity.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 23 Oct. 2012. Web. 12 Mar. 2017. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-pozen/exercise-productivity_b_2005463.html>.
“Sweat Science.” Sweat Science » Brain Endurance, Mitochondria, and the Desire to Exercise. N.p., 21 Sept. 2011. Web. 12 Mar. 2017. <http://sweatscience.com/brain-endurance-mitochondria-and-the-desire-to-exercise/>.