Over the Christmas break, I spent some time reading and considering the part fitness plays in a busy working life and career.
Regular exercise (a minimum of 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes per day) has proven benefits in the work environment. Michael R. Mantell, PhD, author of ‘Don’t Sweat the Small stuff: P.S. It’s All Small Stuff’, highlighted that employees who exercise regularly are less likely to call in sick, have higher attendance and a sharper focus while at work, resulting in higher levels of productivity. Other benefits included improved concentration, faster learning, enhanced creativity and, of course, lower stress.
As employers, there is a point to consider around encouraging employees to exercise and building this into the working day, such as during break times, lunch or as part of wellness programmes.
I know that for myself; I am far more productive and feel more positive when I have exercised regularly throughout the week.
Every day, we are bombarded by articles and information on social media (often celebrity-endorsed) pushing the “optimal” diet, exercise app, fitness tracker or must-do regime. This often puts so much pressure on us that we feel it is unattainable and then don’t do anything for fear of failure. We will add excuses like “I don’t have time”, but what we really mean by this is we don’t consider it a priority, given the time we have available. The more research you read, the more compelling it is to timetable exercise into your working life. Exercise will allow us to soak up more information and simply be more positive and productive overall.
It is also important to point out that exercise can take many forms, from yoga classes and gym sessions to simply going for a walk. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes, clothing to suit and the determination to get out and do something.
Walking is a simple form of exercise that will elevate your mood, lower stress levels and, in the longer term, will increase your fitness and improve your health. In the workplace, this will have huge benefits to your interpersonal connections and collaboration, and with the uplift in your self-esteem, the working environment will feel so much better.
Use 2020 as a reason to change things up and make an investment in yourself.
Keen to read further? Take a look at this recent Forbes article on “Why we pay our employees to exercise at work”, or this article on How Exercise Can Boost your Career by Monster contributor Joe Issid.