Your productivity at work won't flourish when you're feeling sluggish from lack of exercise. Participating in a regular exercise regimen that includes at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and at least two to three days of strength training, plus a mind/body discipline like yoga, will not only improve your overall health, but it will give you an edge at work. Exercise helps keep you sharp, enthusiastic and energetic, all of which will contribute to greater productivity.
Tired No More
There's fatigue and then there's fatigue. When you drag yourself into work already tired from a lack of sleep, you're not going to make much of a dent in your workload. Fatigue from exercise, however, is a good thing. Working out promotes better and deeper sleep, which means you wake up feeling more refreshed. Just remember to save your more vigorous workouts for earlier in the day, and if you do feel the need to exercise at night, perform a gentle, restorative yoga routine instead.
Regular exercise improves your mood. There's an increase in the production of feel-good chemicals in your brain when you exercise and that translates to a heightened sense of self-worth and confidence. Once you've gotten into a regular exercise routine, it'll be a cheerier and more enthusiastic you that's booting up your computer in the morning. Optimism will be the fuel that will nourish your desire to lead a more productive day at work.
Everybody feels drained once in a while. There's your basic everyday stress, your emotional vampires and even that old classic -- negative mental patterns. Add on to that a body that has not exerted itself beyond its regular activities, it's no wonder your productivity at work suffers. What exercise does is top up your energy reserves by improving your respiratory and cardiovascular functions. The job and your daily tasks may be the same, but with your new lease on life you can attack old chores with new gusto.
Grow Your Brain Power
If you've ever sat at your desk and worried that your brain is atrophying from lack of use, don't worry. It's not a case of if you don't use them you lose them -- your brain cells that is. In fact, there's evidence that with regular aerobic exercise you can actually grow more brain cells. A substance called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, is released when you exercise. It becomes even more exciting when you learn that pairing exercise with a cognitive task at work builds more neurons, which will enable you to work better and smarter.
Linda Kaban is a certified yoga teacher and professional life coach who specializes in helping people achieve their fitness goals. With a bachelor's degree in the humanities, Kaban has been writing since 1998 and has been published in YOGALife magazine along with other healthy living publications.