If you often find yourself “too busy” to hit the gym, maybe you have been stuck in a vicious cycle – the lack of exercise could be impeding your work performance, and too much work prevents you from taking a break. Unfortunately, most people believe that the cure for being busy is putting in more work. The simple truth is that there are other, more beneficial things such as exercise that can help you become better at what you do and boost your health at the same time.Long-term brain perks
The changes that happen in your body when you exercise are more than enough to inspire you to stay consistent with your training, right? From keeping your heart healthy and strong, to protecting your bones and muscles, working out is a fine tool in your anti-aging kit. It even helps your skin produce more collagen, balance your hormones, and gives you that wonderful post-workout “dewy” glow that shaves off a few years right away.
Then again, exercise turns back the clock in other ways you cannot notice in the mirror. When you work out on a regular basis, studies have shown that your brain’s ability to grow new brain cells (a process known as neurogenesis) is improved. As you age, this process naturally slows down, leaving you with fewer brain cells at your disposal, and lowering your cognitive capacity. That, of course, has a negative effect on your productivity, while staying physically active counteracts this aspect of aging.Increased energy levels every day
When you think of a vigorous training session, it probably sounds counterintuitive to expect more energy afterwards. Yet, even though exercising does deplete your energy levels in a way, it’s also responsible for helping your body and your brain wake up, become more alert, and it improves your blood flow.
During your workout, your body also experiences a surge of happy hormones such as endorphins, which elevate your spirit and make you feel sharp and attentive. So, even if you feel pressed for time, squeeze in a brief cardio session, jog around the block, or dance to your favorite tunes – you’ll increase your heart rate, oxygen levels, and your body will produce more energy-making mitochondria. This all means that you will have all the needed ingredients to stay lively and industrious all day long.Improved quality of sleep
A consistent training schedule also helps keep your circadian rhythm happy. Of course, we are all different, so some of you will enjoy early morning workouts, while others will prefer to exercise later in the day. What matters is that you stick to what works best for you, and your body will, in turn, regulate your temperature, energy levels, and help you rest properly when the time is right.
Giving your body a chance to get rid of the excess energy means that you no longer lead a predominantly sedentary lifestyle. That fact alone helps you sleep better, longer, and with no interruptions, in order to give your body a chance to restore your energy for the upcoming challenges. Once you get enough shut-eye at night, you’ll be on full alert the next day!A stress detox
In addition to endorphins, your body also produces serotonin and oxytocin during and long after your training session. These neurotransmitters are responsible for elevating your mood and putting your mind at ease, thus preventing and minimizing symptoms of stress, anxiety, and even depression. For those of you who work in highly stressful environments, finding ways to relax is essential to staying healthy and on top of your workload.
Even if your tasks aren’t getting any easier, these happy chemicals push you into a more positive state of mind. Working hard will feel easier, since you will likely enjoy it much more, and you will face those challenges with greater determination. All in all, exercising makes you more resilient to stress over time, so consistency is key to creating this positive, “can do” mindset.Fending off illnesses
What could be more stressful than getting sick as soon as the first person in your office catches a cold? Whether it’s just your two-day-long flu, or the never-ending sniffles, your immune system can easily crash and disrupt your whole week of work. The headaches, sleepless nights, lack of appetite, they will inevitably slow you down in the office, too.
This 12-week-long study in the US showed that participants who lead an active lifestyle of five or more exercise days per week both got sick less frequently, and when they did, their symptoms were significantly less severe. However, there is such a thing as too much exercise, so make sure to stay in the healthy ranges of moderate aerobic activity during winter for best results.Higher self-esteem
People with more confidence are much more likely to show a proactive approach at work, more enthusiasm, and they will face challenges with fervor rather than fear. Feeling low, not just about your physical appearance, but about your abilities translates to more hesitation and less incentive in the workplace as well.
No matter your physique or level of fitness, training on a regular basis increases your levels of self-confidence and improves your overall self-image. Once you see that you are capable of overcoming obstacles at the gym and leaving your comfort zone to push your limitations, this feeling of accomplishment is bound to rub off on your professional life. Suddenly, even when you fail, you become more aware of your own value, and thus better prepared to rise to the challenges at work.Making other healthy choices
Finally, adding one healthy habit into your life, such as exercise, often inspires you to take the next step. If you’ve been reluctant to try a new diet, skip sweets, or ditch smoking, regular physical activity may be the perfect spark for the next improvement in your life.
One by one, these healthy choices will provide your body with nourishment, confidence, and ability to tackle setbacks with more brain power, emotional stability, and overall wellbeing. It may start as half an hour a day to take a walk, but when you take your exercise plan to the next level, you will experience a wide range of perks in every aspect of your life