Exercise improves your productivity

Exercise improves your productivity by 21%. Over the past decade, several scientific studies have shown evidence and corporations noticed the advantages exercise has on employee productivity. Giants like Google provide in-office gyms, Nike and Evernote have in-office yoga classes for their employees.  More and more companies are allowing employees to exercise at work.
You’ve tried all quite apps, different workflows, and you have got tweaked your schedule again and again with no significant result. What are you missing? can be exercise? But there’s no time in your daily schedule for exercise!
 
What we actually mean after we say we don’t have time is that we don’t consider it a priority given the time we’ve available. It’s time to think about exercise together of our priorities. you have got plenty on your mind, long to-do lists, and just 24 hours. Take an opportunity and exercise. It´s proven that just ten minutes will improve your mood, energy, time management, span, accuracy, memory, and the way fast our brains process information.
 
Too good to be true? Keep reading.

Immediate Results

When we exercise to become more productive, it doesn´t take weeks or months to see results. You´ll feel the effects pretty much as soon as you exercise. A good workout will change how you feel emotionally, your energy level, and how you think, that very same day.
 
Aerobic exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety right after done. Work out quickly at lunch and you’ll feel less anxious in the afternoon. Exercise also has same-day effects on cognition, making it easier to engage in executive functions like self-control, decision making, and handling conflict. Exercise is the best way to prepare for workdays when you need to be at your best.
 
How long do you have to exercise to improve your productivity? 10 minutes.

Does it matter when you work out?

Many of us exercise whenever our schedules allow, mostly at the end of the day if we aren’t too tired or on weekends. Usually, our goal is to burn calories or build muscle, so we push ourselves as hard as we can.
 
Training to boost productivity is quite different. To enhance our brainpower and productivity we should exercise in the morning or at lunchtime. It helps to have a flexible work schedule to do that, but it’s not essential. Maybe you can get on the treadmill for 10 minutes during lunch or before heading to work in the morning. Try short, low-impact exercises that fit effortlessly into your day. You may find you’ve cracked one of the most reliable secrets: exercise improves your productivity.

What types of exercise are best?

1. Strength Training

A Brandeis University study suggests that home-based strength training can benefit memory. University of Utah study shows that mixing aerobic exercise and resistance training exercise increases brain function. Both acute resistance and aerobic exercise increased measures of cognition over a non-exercise control group in untrained high school youth.

2. Low-Intensity Aerobic Exercise

For a workout focused on increase your productivity, low to moderate exercise is key. Low-intensity aerobic exercise is better than intense aerobic exercise. Studies show that intense exercise raises symptoms of fatigue. You want to feel more energized, not fatigued. So, don´t push it, take it easy.

3. Yoga

The University of San Francisco conducted a study that has shown the positive effects of practicing yoga because increases energy levels, creativity, ability to problem-solve, and to cope with stress load.
 
Another study aimed to measure the effect of yoga on organizational performance looking at five indicators: job satisfaction, job involvement, goal orientation, affective organizational commitment, and organizational citizenship behavior. The results of the study show that Yoga has a significant positive impact on four out of five of these indicators.

4. Walking

A Standford University study  shows that when walking and after, creativity increases. With some participants up to 81%.
 
A historical fact to reflect on: Aristotle founded the Peripatetic School in 335 BC. The term peripatetic comes from the ancient Greek word peripatētikós, which means “of walking” or “given to walking about”. While walking, Aristotle and his disciples conducted research into a wide range of subjects: botany, biology, logic, music, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, cosmology, physics, the history of philosophy, metaphysics, psychology, ethics, theology, rhetoric, political history, government and political theory, rhetoric, and the arts. Walking was definitely an exercise that helped these ancient Greeks a lot. Nietzsche, Immanuel Kant, Henry David Thoreau, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau among other famous thinkers praised the benefits of walking to help overcome mental blocks and to get deeper into a problem. Imitate the peripatetic and discover the positive effect of walking on creative thinking.

Another study in the UK showed that lunchtime walks improved enthusiasm, relaxation, and nervousness at work. Walking is an exercise easy to fit into your schedule. Both indoors and outdoors walking will increase your productivity.

6 ways exercise makes you a productivity master

1. You will be more focused.

One of the greatest enemies of productivity is getting distracted. Surfing the web, daydreaming… you know what I´m talking about.
 
Since exercising is a very in-the-moment experience, it demands your complete attention, allowing you to eliminate random thoughts, tune out the distractions, and free up mental space. People that exercise have a greater focus. When you are working, it becomes easier to think about the task at hand with all of your energy.
 
Briston University studied 200 employees at three organizations. The employees evaluated themselves on exercise and no- exercise days.
On workout days, participants scored 21% higher for concentration, 22% higher for finishing their work on time, 25% higher for working without unscheduled breaks.

2. Boost your mood.

Exercising releases endorphins which make people happier, serotonin that helps you feel better and improves your state of mind, making the stresses of work easier to handle.
 
British economist George MacKerron and the London School of Economics are conducting  the Mappiness project. They recruited +50,000 volunteers to download an app to their phones. Once a day, their phones “beep,” and they have to report what they are doing and how happy they feel. What has MacKerron discovered so far? Exercise makes people happy — only sex makes people happier.
 
When you are happier, you will view the work ahead through a better lens and you can be more productive.

3. Increase your energy.

Many people experience lethargy at some point of the day.
 
Researchers from the University of Georgia split sedentary young adults with persistent fatigue into three groups: low-intensity, moderate-intensity exercise, and a control group (no exercise). Both exercise groups reported growing levels of energy compared to the control group.
 
With greater energy, you will be able to remain productive for larger amounts of time and accomplish significantly more.
 

4. Boost performance.

A Leeds Metropolitan University study examined the influence of exercise among office workers with access to a company gym.
 
Researchers had over 200 employees at a variety of companies self-reporting their performance on a daily basis, comparing their output on days when they exercised to days when they didn’t. On days when employees visited the gym, they reported managing their time more effectively, being more productive, and having smoother interactions with their colleagues.

5. Improves memory.

This University of British Columbia study found that regular aerobic exercise boosts the size of the brain areas involved in memory and learning.
Maryland scientists found that treadmill walking changed the working of portions of the brain involved in semantic memory. After exercise, parts of the brain became less active during semantic-memory tests, which is a desirable outcome. Less activity suggests that the brain had become more efficient at semantic-memory processing as a result of the exercise, requiring fewer resources to access the memories.

6. You will be more creative.

Creativity is highly related to productivity. When you exercise, you activate different parts of your brain that spike creativity.
 
Lorenza Colzato, researcher from Leiden University found that exercising on a regular basis act as a  cognitive enhancer promoting creativity. Researchers noted that regular exercise is associated with improved divergent and convergent thinking, the two components of creative thinking. The former involves thinking of multiple solutions for one problem, the latter involves thinking of one solution for a problem.

Bottom Line

You´ve been trying to become more productive but you´re not there yet? Maybe what´s missing is exercise.

Just invest 10 minutes of your time and you could get many mental and physical benefits, and at the end of the day, even more free time to spend as you want.

13 thoughts on “Exercise improves your productivity”

  1. Great article! I agree that it improves your productivity! I have personally made exercise a priority and often I have to squeeze shorter workouts into my day. We were created to move and to stay healthy we must keep moving!

    1. I really appreciate your testimony that it is possible to fit short workouts into your busy schedule and that it has also improved your productivity :)

  2. Hi Chape, and great post! I’ve definitely noticed that I’m much more productive during periods of my life when I’m exercising regularly, with a catch. This past summer/fall I was doing so much physical work for my job, that I became less productive over time due to exhaustion. So, I feel that moderately-intense exercise is generally best for productivity.

    Also, did you hear that Einstein liked to go for long walks when he had to make difficult decisions? That seems to tie into the benefits of walking that you mentioned in your post.

    1. Thanks Josh!
      The point is to keep the workouts short to avoid fatigue :) I guess the best intensity depends on the person, I work better after a low intensity workout. We both could do the same routine at different pace with different load, and get the same productivity benefits after.
      I didn´t know that about Einstein! I know some weird and funny fucts about philosophers´s but not so much about scientists :D I´m wondering… “Do great minds walk alike?” LOL

      1. Hi Chape, you make a good point about how individual differences might affect outcomes – I hadn’t considered that!

        There does seem to be a pattern with great minds enjoying taking walks! We might as well try to imitate them :)

      2. And cheapest :) Besides, the human body was designed to walk long distances. It´s “our thing” :)

    1. Thank you Mark! I´d love if you find a minute next month and give me your opinion on the challenge I´ll be hosting :)

  3. Pingback: Do it better - Fitness Challenge - Chape Fitness

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Lower Back

The Erector Spinae is not just one muscle, but a bundle of muscles and tendons. Paired, they run more or less vertically. It extends throughout the lumbar, thoracic and cervical regions, and lies in the groove to the side of the vertebral column.

Latissimus Dorsi

The latissimus dorsi is the larger, flat, dorsolateral muscle on the trunk, posterior to the arm, and partly covered by the trapezius on its median dorsal region.

Deltoids

The Deltoid muscle is the muscle forming the rounded contour of the shoulder. It is divided into three portions, anterior, lateral and posterior, with the fibers having different roles due to their orientation.

Infraspinatus

The Infraspinatus muscle is one of the four rotator cuff muscles crossing the shoulder joint and is commonly injured. It is the main external rotator of the shoulder joint.

Biceps

The Biceps brachii is  actually two separate bundles of muscles (heads). The two heads of the Biceps vary in length and as a result, are called the Short and the Long Biceps heads.

Triceps

The Triceps Brachii muscles  have three muscle heads: Lateral, Medial and Long head. Primarily responsible for the extension of the elbow joint. The lateral head is used for movements requiring occasional high-intensity force, while the medial fascicle enables more precise, low-force movements.

Forearm
(Anterior muscles)

The Pronator teres pronates the forearm, turning the hand posteriorly. If the elbow is flexed to a right angle, then pronator teres will turn the hand so that the palm faces inferiorly. It is assisted in this action by pronator quadratus.

Forearm
(Posterior muscles)

The Extensor Digitorum muscle helps in the movements of the wrists and the elbows. It extends the phalanges, then the wrist, and finally the elbow. It acts principally on the proximal phalanges. It tends to separate the fingers as it extends them.

Pecs

The pectoralis major makes up the bulk of the chest muscles in the male and lies under the breast in the female.

The pectoralis minor is a thin, triangular muscle, situated at the upper part of the chest, beneath the pectoralis major. 

Abs

The Rectus Abdominis is the most superficial of the abdominal muscles. It is this muscle which forms the six-pack shape! It is a paired muscle running vertically on each side of the anterior wall of the abdomen. There are two parallel muscles, separated by a midline band of connective tissue called the linea alba.

Obliques

The External Oblique is situated on the lateral and anterior parts of the abdomen. It is broad, thin, and irregularly quadrilateral. It is the largest and the most superficial (outermost) of the three flat muscles of the lateral anterior abdomen. 

Glutes

The gluteal muscles are a group of three muscles which make up the buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The three muscles originate from the ilium and sacrum and insert on the femur. The functions of the muscles include extension, abduction, external rotation, and internal rotation of the hip joint.

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Quadriceps

The Quadriceps Femoris is the knee extensor muscle.  As a group, the quadriceps femoris is crucial in walking, running, jumping and squatting. It´s subdivided into four separate “heads”.

Hamstrings

A hamstring is any one of the three posterior thigh muscles in between the hip and the knee (from medial to lateral: semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris). The hamstrings are quite susceptible to injury.

Lower Leg

The gastrocnemius and the soleus form what we know as calf. They are involved in activities such as walking, running, jumping… 

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Trapezius

The trapezius is a broad, flat and triangular muscle. The muscles on each side form a trapezoid shape. It is the most superficial of all the back muscles.

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