We all know that exercise is good. It’s common knowledge that proper exercise can work to prevent weight gain and even help maintain weight loss. It is also well acknowledged that exercise can help to reduce the likelihood, and sometimes even prevent, certain diseases and health conditions. But did you know that regular exercise also helps improve your mood?
According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise has two primary influences on mood:
The first is that exercise can improve the way you feel about your body. Further to that, regular sustained physical activity can have long term positive physiological effects that go beyond weight loss to include increased self-confidence and self-esteem.
The second mood influencer is the effect that exercise has on your brain: physical activity “stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious” (Mayo Clinic). That is a huge benefit in a day in age where life is often fast paced and stressful.
Exercise at Work = More Productivity
What’s even more interesting is that recent research has found that exercise during work hours can improve an employee’s productivity while they are at work. A study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that exercise performed during the workday can improve not only an employee’s mood but their work performance as well.
According to the study, employees that exercised during the workday reported:
- A 21% improvement to concentration
- A 41% increase in motivation
- 80% report better interactions with coworkers
- 27% report a greater capacity to handle stressful situations
The magnitude of these increases in self-reported motivation, concentration, capacity for stress and interpersonal skills is astounding.
We put these ideas to the test
Here at Effortless Admin we just had to put this to the test (although in a very non-scientific way). In the fall of 2018 a group of us began to taking small breaks to exercise throughout the day. These mini-workouts were typically short and high-intensity. We tried all sorts of different types of physical activity throughout the day, including:
- Short, high intensity YouTube workouts
- Pushup or pullup breaks throughout the day
- Bring Sally Up challenges
- Walks around the block
Other than body weight exercises the only equipment on hand was a door frame pullup bar and comfortable shoes.
Out of those of us that participated consistently almost everyone found that these short workouts increased their focus and productivity. It also didn’t take long to turn this experiment into a routine. Coworkers would encourage one another to take breaks and do a little physical activity before switching tasks. It’s been about 6 months now the group is still at it making sure they hit their pullup numbers for the day.
How to encourage exercise throughout the day
There are many simple ways that your organization can encourage physical activity throughout the workday to help improve employee satisfaction. Here are some great ideas to help you get your creative juices flowing:
- Spearhead daily team walks
- If you work in an office, be intentional about getting up and moving around every 30 minutes
- Try some short, high intensity YouTube workouts
- Take up walking, jogging, biking during lunch breaks
- Start a push-up or pull-up club
- Provide time during the day for employees to hit the gym
- Subsidize local gym memberships
The key is to start simple and small. Foster a safe and encouraging environment and invite as many people as you can to participate. If you start an exercise club at your work, let us know how it goes @EAIncCanada.