Energy and Productivity Boost
Most people who exercise regularly know that working out actually helps boost your energy level, not diminish it, and at least one study shows that working out over the middle of the day can actually help you stay motivated and productive when you clean up and head back to the office.
A study conducted by researchers at Elon University showed that not only did exercisers have more energy after their workout, their cognitive abilities showed improvement as well. Lifestyle blog Greatist (reproduced below) suggests you harness that mental boost by working out over the middle of the day, right when you’re starting to slump, and then head back to the office recharged. The only caveat is that workers who were super-stressed didn’t experience the cognitive benefits, and were actually less productive. So check your stress in the locker room, okay?
Obviously not everyone has the type of job that will let you break for a long lunch to squeeze in a workout at a nearby gym, shower, and then come back to work, but for those people with some flexibility in their hours or an office building with a gym inside or nearby, it could be a good way to break the habit of sitting all day and squeeze a workout into your routine. Do you exercise in the middle of the day, when you get up, or before bed? Which time works best for you?
Try a Midday Workout to Boost Productivity
Falling asleep in front of the computer screen? Creativity crashing by 3pm in the office? The trick to becoming more productive may be to ditch the cubicle and hit the gym. Studies suggest a midday workout can help productivity skyrocket (and even boost job satisfaction!), so we can quickly gain back those hours lost in gym-land.
We Can Work It Out — The Takeaway
Photo by Ben Draper
Don’t just live for lunch breaks. Scientists have found that fitting in some fitness can increase work stamina. In one study, a third of participants who devoted two and a half hours a week to exercise during work hours reported maintaining or increasing productivity (even though they spent less time at the office) . And other research suggests regular, low intensity exercise (like yoga or walking on aninclined treadmill) could dramatically reduce sleepiness and amp up energy— no Red Bullnecessary .
Need to think outside the box? Moderate cardio exercise has been shown to deliver a two-hour creativity boost immediately following that workout session. And ramping up the intensity (think: treadmill intervals or a CrossFit WOD) cansharpen the brain without the books: One study found a five to 10 percent improvement in cognitive function for those who hit the gym . Finish the workout off with some stability-promoting core exercises like planks, and plenty of stretching and foam rolling for a pain-free transition back to that desk.
But before lacing up, the super-stressed should take heed. Researchers have found that high levels of stress combined with working out could lead to significant loss in the productivity department. On the other hand, less-stressed workers (what’s their secret?!) who exercised regularly experienced less productivity decline . No harm there!
And while experts are still on the fence about the best time to workout, there’s still this physiological fun fact. Body temperature goes up a few degrees midday, warming muscles and potentiallyenhancing workout performance . Looks like the secret weapon to a great workday and workout may be right around lunchtime. And for those who don’t have more than half an hour to break free, it never hurts to ask!