Regular exercise boosts your productivity

Maja Petrovic
May 17, 2018 · 4 min read

We are all well aware of the benefits of physical workout, but we are also lazy to dedicate ourselves to spend our time-off in the gym or to do sports. On the other hand, it’s an obvious time-management problem.

How can we manage all the work and find time for a workout? My hypothesis is that we actually don’t consider workout a priority when planning our free time. The following paragraphs are an attempt to explain why we should reconsider our priorities and put training much higher on the list.

Research and benefits

Besides many physical benefits, recent scientific research suggests that there is another immediate benefit we gain from regular exercise and physical activity — increased productivity. In addition to that, research proves that a regular exercise routine can make you happier, smarter, and more energetic.

As a knowledge worker, your brain is your single greatest asset.

Your brain is the primary tool you use to perform at your job and you want it to be sharp. Studies indicate that our mental firepower is directly linked to our physical regimen. And nowhere are the implications more relevant than to our performance at work. Some of the outcomes of regular exercise are:

  • Improved concentration
  • Sharper memory
  • Faster learning
  • Prolonged mental stamina
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Lower stress

Exercise during working hours is also proven to elevate your mood, boost your performance, time management, and productivity. Working out regularly also enables having smoother interactions with your colleagues due to the feeling of well-being, which is one of the most important things for career success. And finally, by exercising regularly you go home feeling more satisfied at the end of the day.

How and Why to adapt our mentality to train regularly

Instead of viewing exercise as something we do for ourselves — a personal indulgence that takes us away from our work, it’s time to start considering physical activity as part of the work itself. It’s a concept Arianna Huffington popularised as “Work-Life integration” where time-off, training, resting etc. are actually mechanisms that increase our output and outcomes at work.

By skipping training we get many negative effects like erasing information more slowly, forgetting more often, getting easily frustrated, being less effective at our jobs and it gets harder to get along with our colleagues since our health and well-being is compromised.

What we actually gain from regular exercising is remarkable. Being productive and alert at work can help you get your job done faster and the compounded effects make you more eligible for a promotion. When you exercise, you are also increasing blood flow to the brain, which can help sharpen your awareness and make you more ready to tackle your next big project.

Exercise can also give you more energy and you will feel more awake at work. Being on top of your game will assure that you perform your work correctly and to the best of your ability.

One way to be more productive on the job is to have improved mental health. Regular exercise can help control and prevent feelings of anxiety and depression. When you exercise, your brain releases serotonin that helps you feel better and improves your state of mind, making the stresses of work easier to handle. Regular exercise may also help you deal better with stress and this can lead to improved relationships with your colleagues and a more secure future at your job.

Power walking, running, weight lifting, swimming or jogging can help reduce your risk of developing certain types of illness and disease. With an improved immunity, you minimise your chances for getting influenza and the common cold as well as your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart disease is greatly reduced.

The first steps towards regular training

The very first step you take should be defining the physical activity you really like. You are far more likely to stick with an activity if you genuinely enjoy doing it. Not everyone is happy with weight lifting or running. Fact: how we feel while exercising can influence the degree to which it ultimately benefits our health.

Next, consider investing in improving your performance. Settling for getting some exercise is suggested to be replaced with focusing on mastering an activity instead. The additional financial investment will increase your commitment level, like hiring a coach and buying appropriate equipment, while the steady gains in performance will help sustain your interest over the longer period of time.

And finally, commit to establishing exercise as a habit, almost like taking a prescription medication, because regular exercise is indeed a medicine.

How do we tackle health improvement at Ministry of Programming?

One of the most important tasks of the People Operations department is taking care of our team’s well-being and happiness. Thus, among other great perks, we encourage all our team members to start regular workout by allocating the Company’s budget for a gym membership, swimming sessions, cross-fit or even premium FitPass membership. This has proven highly appreciated and utilised by our team.

We’ve now taken the exercise efforts to an even higher level — by challenging our colleagues to commit themselves to a full 30-days workout and healthy nutrition life-style. We are always open to new ideas and challenges so feel free to share your experience!

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