We all know there are hundreds of benefits to moving your body. From physical wellness to mental wellness, exercise does it all. But were you aware that by exercising, you can add hours to your day?
Well, not literally of course ... we are all stuck with the same 24 hours each and every day. But exercise can help you get more done in less time. The secret is that exercise boosts productivity. That means that if you regularly exercise, you'll be able to work more efficiently! And of course we all know what that means ... MORE FREE TIME! And who couldn't use a little more free time in their day?
How Exercise Boosts Productivity
Working out your body has some amazing impacts on how we work. It improves our focus, alertness and ultimately increases your job performance.
- Exercise keeps you alert and focused. When you exercise, you get an increased flow of blood to your brain which sharpens your awareness and focus. Do you have trouble staying focused? Have you ever suffered from the afternoon slump? Try getting in a workout either in the morning or at lunch. Go for a quick walk or pull out your yoga mat. That afternoon slump will disappear.
- Exercise will increase your energy level. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but exercise gives you extra energy that will last through your day. There are days when the last thing you want to do is go work out. You just don’t have the energy, right? If you can convince yourself to get moving, your body will start to transfer glucose and oxygen throughout your brain and body….and your energy level will increase. Sometimes I get the best workouts on days where I didn’t think I had the energy to do anything!
- Exercise Builds Momentum. A body in motion stays in motion! While your coworkers are dragging in the morning and struggling to get the day started, you will come in full force and ready to go. You will quickly become known for your energy level and ability to hit the ground running! Watch your reputation build.
- Exercise improves your brain function. Your brain is the primary tool you use to perform at your work. You NEED it to be sharp. With your brain performing at full capacity, you can focus, concentrate, and make the best decisions. You will be more efficient with your work and the results will be much better.
- Exercise can help you find work-life balance. People who manage to maintain a regular exercise routine are more able to find an optimal work-life balance. Perhaps this is because structured activity has helped them become better at time management and more confident in their abilities. Whatever the reason, it is very true for me. Exercise helps me balance my work with my own needs and the needs of my family.
- Exercise boosts your confidence. Let’s face it – how great do you feel after working out? You just did something amazing for your body and you feel great! When you feel confident about yourself, you will have a higher output of quality work. Why? Because you know you are awesome, and you want your work to show it!
How Can I Squeeze Exercise into my Busy Day?
I hear a lot of people say they just don't have the time to exercise. But the truth is that we can all fit in a workout ... because a workout doesn't have to be 2 hours spent at the gym!
We all want to be more productive, but often we are strapped for time. It is a little bit like the chicken and the egg. You need to find the time to work out so that you can be more productive and save time, but until you start saving time, you may not know how to squeeze in a workout.
Here are some tips to get you started.
- How do you Spend your Time? – Sometimes we have more time than we think, but because we don't spend it wisely, it seems to pass by so quickly. Take a look at how you currently use your time. Do you spend 30 min on social media? Could you choose not to snooze your alarm in the morning? Look for small windows of time that you know you could use better, and then squeeze in a little workout!
- Work out Efficiently – Pick exercises that you can do anywhere with little preparation and no equipment required. Jumping Jacks, squats, planking, and running are my favorites because you can do them ANYWHERE. I do 15 squats every time I get up to use the bathroom. I also do a quick set of 50 jumping jacks before each meal of the day. I can plank for 2 minutes first thing in the morning and right before bed with almost zero impact to my day. All you need for a yoga routine is a yoga mat and some water. There are even travel mats that weigh less than a towel.
- Track your Activity Levels – Measuring your activity can really help you stay on track. Why do you think activity trackers have become so popular? Just by wearing a device that tracks your activity, you increase your activity levels by 40%. If you don’t have a tracker, write it down every time you exercise and keep track of it.
- Choose Something over Nothing – Small amounts of exercise are better than no amount of exercise. Don’t underestimate how much you can get done in five or ten minutes. If you exercise in several ten minute increments over the day, it adds up quickly! You CAN find a few minutes. Read tip #2 for examples.
Hold yourself Accountable
Accountability is huge when you are first trying to develop a new habit. So, don't keep this to yourself. Find an accountability buddy who will help keep you on track. Tell your spouse, friend or coworker your plans. Write out your goals and keep them in sight to remind you. And finally, keep track of your wins and progress. Once you start seeing results and improving everything from your appearance to your productivity, it will be a lot easier to keep up the exercise routine.