You are here

How Exercise Makes You Better at Your Job

  • Shutterstock

    It Makes You More Efficient

    "Employees who exercise regularly, a minimum of 150 minutes per week, are less likely to call in sick, have better attendance, and focus while at work," says Michael Mantell, PhD, author of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff: P.S. It's All Small Stuff. That may translate to a 15 percent overall boost in work productivity, according to research out of the UK's Leeds Metropolitan University. And that may translate to a six-hour, 48-minute workday instead of an eight-hour workday. Voilà—now you have time for the gym!

  • Shutterstock

    It Makes You More Creative

    "Exercise promotes a more mentally balanced, self-controlled, less stressed, approach in many situations, which is necessary to creative thinking," Mantell says. In fact, athletes performed better than nonathletes when asked to think outside of the box, according to a Frontiers in Human Neuroscience study.

  • Shutterstock

    It Boosts Your Brain

    Exercise boosts areas of your brain responsible for social interactions, memory, navigation, and emotion regulation, says a Neurobiology of Aging review. Basically, exercise can help save you from crying at your desk after a not-so-great team brainstorm. Or at the very least, help you run to the nearest restroom if waterworks are eminent.

  • Shutterstock

    It Makes You More Confident

    "Fit employees have more positive body image and higher self-confidence," Mantell says. "This inspires others to see them in more positive ways, too."

  • Shutterstock

    It Reduces Work Stress

    Research published in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention supports the stress-relieving effects of exercise that you've known anecdotally for so long. When researchers offered 57 workers classes in weight loss/diet, stress, exercise, and smoking cessation, those who exercised reported less stress than the control group, an average rating of 4.7 compared to 6.5 on a stress scale, respectively.

  • Shutterstock

    It Decreases Your Risk of Job Burnout

    "Exercise produces a protein called PGC-1alpha, which breaks down kynurenine, a substance that accumulates as a result of stress," Mantell says. "This reduces the risk of depression and job burnout."

  • Shutterstock

    It Makes You More Flexible

    When researchers divided 118 older adults into a Hatha yoga group or a stretching group, those who did yoga had shorter reaction times to switching tasks than their stretching counterparts, which implies they'll have an easier time adjusting to new tasks at the office, too. The study was published in The Journals of Gerontology.

  • Shutterstock

    It Helps You Process Information Faster

    If you want to be Quick Draw McGraw (with the added benefit of being correct) in the boardroom, then being speedy on the sidewalk and trails can help. Numerous studies have linked faster walking speed to faster mental processing. So don't slow down. In fact, one Journals of Gerontology study found that the slowing of gait speed may predict mental decline.

  • Shutterstock

    It Makes You Resilient

    To be an athlete you need to know how to perservere—how else are you going to finish that half when your glutes are burning with fatigue? That resilience, the ability to push past stressors, can serve you well at the office. A review published in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that athletes deal with three types of stressors: personal, organizational, and competitive (sounds like a day at the office, right?), and that the psychological benefits of exercise—namely positivity, motivation, confidence, focus—help them push past the stressors to reach their goals.