You’re busy. With a capital B. Your to do list stretches endlessly into the distance. If only there were a few more hours in the day.
You’d love to find the time to exercise. Someday soon.
What if there was a way to exercise AND be more productive?
It turns out that the two are linked. Research conducted in Melbourne, Australia in 2011 has found a direct link between exercise and productivity.
Growing brain cells
It was once thought that after childhood our brains were unable to change and grow. Scientists who initially proposed that the human brain was capable of change, growth and repair were belittled. However, it is now known that exercise produces a range of physiological effects including increasing the blood flow and oxygen to our brains and stimulating growth factors to help our brain cells grow.
“You have the power to change your brain. All you have to do is lace up your running shoes” Dr John Ratey.
One experiment showed that after just one session on the treadmill, participants improved in higher level thinking process such as creative thinking.
How to supercharge your productivity AND reduce your stress levels
The study in Melbourne had interesting results. Two groups were compared, with both groups increasing their exercise to at least 10,000 steps per day from an average of 3000-5000 steps per day. One group also attended the gym three times a week to do a resistance based workout.
The reaction time and working memory (required to do complex tasks such as reasoning, judgment and decision-making) improved in both groups. The group who also attended the gym, however, arrived at decisions much faster, had double the improvement with working memory and improved their bioage by an average of 5 years. They also had increases in alertness, energy levels and accuracy and a reduction in anger levels. Productivity gains have been estimated at $2,500.
Tips for getting started
- If you’re not currently exercising, start with a small goal, even 10 to 15 minutes three times a week
- Find a way to enjoy your exercise sessions. Find something you love to do, exercise with a friend or listen to music
- Consult a fitness professional for a personalized plan as you develop the exercise habit
Who would have thought that exercise was the magic bullet to increase productivity and energy levels and reduce stress levels?