Regular exercise has numerous benefits for all of us, but one thing that is often overlooked is how exercising regularly can impact your work life. No, we don’t mean the bag of sweaty gym kit under your desk making you unpopular! Exercising regularly can actually improve your performance at work, and could be just the thing you were looking for to give you that edge when it comes to standing out from the crowd.
Whatever your job, whatever industry you work in, productivity is one of those things you can never have too much of. We all want to be more productive, more efficient with our time, and less wasteful of the hours available to us. Taking time out of your day to exercise might seem like something that will eat into your working hours or make you too tired to stay awake during that long afternoon meeting. In actual fact, people who exercise regularly are more alert and productive at work.
On a very basic level, exercising increases blood flow to the brain, which will sharpen awareness and make us more alert. A study from the University of Bristol has shown that after exercising, work performance is consistently higher, with better time management and higher mental acuity.
Exercising before work – even if that’s just a brisk walk to the office or some light yoga – can help to prevent that post-lunch energy slump when we struggle to even open emails, much less answer them.
Sometimes, work is stressful. There’s no getting away from the fact that if you’re trying to finish a project, pitch to a new investor or just get a product finalised and out of the door, things can get a bit heated. Exercising regularly will not remove that stress, but it will make you better able to cope with it. It will also mean that the smaller things will not bother you so much. When you exercise your body release endorphins, which flood the brain and make you feel brilliant. That feeling lasts long after you’ve showered and changed, and helps to keep your stress levels lower throughout the day.
Exercise is also a fantastic way to burn off tension after a stressful day at work; you can take out your frustration on the squash court instead of taking it home with you.
Studies have shown a clear link between physical fitness, brain function and reduced stress levels at work.
“Thinking outside of the box” is something every business should value; it’s how you come up with groundbreaking ideas that put you head and shoulders above the competition. It’s really hard to come up with creative ideas when you’re sitting at a desk all day though, isn’t it! A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that walking, both indoors and outdoors, triggers a burst in creative thinking; in fact, the average creative output can be increased by 60 per cent when a person is walking. Incorporating walking into your daily routine can be a fantastic way to get those creative juices flowing.
Whatever line of work we are in, nobody wants to be off sick. It might sound nice to take a “duvet day” from time to time, but actual sickness is no fun – and being off sick is not conducive to success in any line of business. The good news is that regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing certain types of illness and improve immunity. This means diseases like type 2 diabetes or heart disease won’t keep you from work, but also that pesky cough that always does the rounds at this time of year should leave you relatively unscathed too.
Exercise is one of those things we all know we “should” do for health reasons, but for many of us our health can take a back seat as we concentrate on work and building a business. We’re hoping that we’ve shown you an alternative perspective – that exercise is actually something that can give you an edge in business and help you to stand out from the crowd.
Company Shortcuts works with a team of outstanding Sales Accelerators to deliver consultancy and training, who also guest blog for us on topics of interest to sales leaders.