Working out makes you work better

  • Exercise is essential to maintain a healthy mental and physical balance, even if telecommuting has reduced mobility.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity or 1.25 hours of high-intensity physical activity each week.
  • Exercise improves sleep quality, increases vigor, promotes focus and work productivity, and boosts self-confidence. Fun is the key to maintaining consistent engagement.


Although telecommuting now seems-unfortunately-a thing of the past, one of its many merits was to indirectly highlight how much movement is needed to maintain a healthy mental and physical balance.
Indeed, if it brought with it less mobility (after all, it does not require one to move from home), it at least highlighted how important making exercise part of one’s daily routine is. And it is not only for the body but also for the mind (and we already know this) but especially for the great deity of the contemporary era: productivity. At work, that is.

Whether or not this is a problem for you, know that science has verified that in addition to being good for your mind and body, sports also have the positive consequence of allowing you to work much better. How? Here’s explained.

What the World Health Organization says

First, some data, provided directly by the WHO:
– Worldwide, one in three women and one in four men do not get enough physical activity
– 1.4 billion people worldwide do not get enough exercise
– WHO recommends that adults aged 18-64 should engage in at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity or at least 1.25 hours of high-intensity physical activity each week.

Why does WHO focus so much on sports? Shouldn’t it only deal with diseases and related treatments? Not only and not really: as you may have often heard, prevention is already part of treatment, and it is better (as well as less costly, in human and economic terms) to prevent the emergence of certain diseases instead of treating them when they are already widespread. We talk about cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as cancer and mental illness. Here it is: for all these real plagues, sports can do so much.

Why it is always a good idea to move

There are many reasons why people do not get enough exercise, but right now let’s just focus on how to get enough physical activity and what benefits it causes at work. But let’s start at the beginning, and that is how training helps in work. Think of it a bit as a way to talk about the benefits and goals right away so that you understand how desirable they are, and then advise how to achieve them.

How sports help you in your work

The indirect benefits of movement relative to work are:

Better quality of sleep
The primary beneficiary of you moving is your sleep: the more you exercise and “get tired,” the more its quality increases, thus allowing you to be more rested the next day and consequently increasing your concentration and the quality of the work you are able to do.

More vigor
Do you feel any particular fatigue after training? Well, it’s normal and it’s related to the energy consumption and the effort that, objectively, you put in. The paradox of an active life, however, is that once you get past the stage of exhaustion close to the workout, you experience above-average vigor in the hours and days afterwards. It is only fair to specify that this like the other positive effects requires perseverance and that it is unthinkable to achieve these results after a few sporadic workouts.

Greater focus
To recap: do you work out, get tired and … increase your ability to focus and thus be more productive at work? You got it right.
In fact, the benefits are not limited to physical vigor and growth in overall energy level but also affect the mind, allowing you greater concentration and productivity.

Another indirect effect of physical activity arises from increased self-confidence: the realization that one can be consistent and motivated in keeping up with the commitment made by working out and, above all, the confirmations that come after each workout help to reinforce the perception that one can and will succeed in the work environment as well. In short, it is a positive effect that, starting from the personal sphere, radiates to the work sphere as well. Illuminating it!

Above all, have fun

Okay: we understood that moving is good for you, and we also understood what it causes positive in your work. How, however, to be able to do this consistently, considering also that the benefits are all the more evident and lasting the more continuously you train?

It might seem obvious but it’s not: if you’ve finally decided to play sports, don’t challenge yourself by setting unattainable or otherwise difficult goals. Try to make this endeavor as fun as possible. How? Like that:

  • Consider that even the smallest movement or activity is always better than standing still.
  • Even a 20-minute workout has positive effects.
  • Choose an activity that you enjoy, and if you don’t find one right away, change as much as possible. Running may not be in your wheelhouse, so try something else: rock climbing, tennis, martial arts, swimming. There are an infinite number of them, and the important thing is to find the right one for you and then practice it consistently.

Fun is, as always, the key. Just because you enjoy doing something does not mean that it is less physically effective: as they said, even the most minimal movement is still better than standing still.
If you have never played sports and have finally started, you will soon realize how much you can increase productivity, focus and creativity at work as well.
And if you’ve always done sports or running, well, you already know that.

(Via Harvard Business Review)


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