Being a good worker is about more than just showing up every day and putting in your time. Ultimately, it’s about how well you work, and that in turn can be a direct result of how well you work out.
So what can getting in shape do for your career? You’d be surprised. The benefits go far beyond developing a sweet six-pack.
1. Boost Your Work Alertness and Memory
Getting regular, strenuous exercise not only helps you build muscles and maintain a healthy blood pressure, but it also might reign in those sleepy feelings in the afternoons. Regular exercise can boost your memory, focus and general brain function far better than that fifth cup of coffee.
“Exercise helps memory and thinking through both direct and indirect means. The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells,” writes Heidi Godman at the Harvard Health Blog. “Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment.”
2. Don’t Get Sick (as Much)
You’ll take fewer sick days and be able to really give the job your all when your immune system can fight off those pesky pathogens this year. A recent study by the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine shows that even getting just 20 minutes of exercise a day can be enough to make your body a stronger germ-fighter.
Plus, “just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently,” as noted in a recent blog post from Harvard Health Publishing.
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3. Improve Your Mood
Find a little more work-life balance when you head to the gym — or just leave work on time to go on a walk with your kids. Making sure that you’re putting in the time to take care of your body can boost your mental health, and make you feel happier.
“A Finnish study found that men with the highest levels of physical activity, cardio fitness and muscular strength sweated workplace stress less than men who worked out less. They also reported being more energetic, capable and confident in their daily tasks. So if you’re looking for a confidence boost ahead of a job interview or big presentation, considering hitting the gym as well as rehearsing in front of the mirror,” writes Nicole Lyn Pesce in Moneyish.
Really, getting in shape isn’t solely about losing weight or getting stronger (though it’s totally fine if that’s what motivates you). It’s also about being more active and less sedentary, feeling better and being more productive.
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
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