We all know exercise is good for us, but faced with a choice of an extra hour in bed or a trip to the gym before work, how many people would choose to stay in bed? Quite a lot as it happens. The thing is: if you are already an exercise junkie, you probably know how much better you feel after a sweaty gym session or 5k run. You don’t need to be told about the benefits of exercise. But what if you are a manager or boss in charge of other people – will encouraging your staff to take regular exercise improve their productivity levels?
We live in a competitive world and anything you can do to give your business the edge is worth trying. Promoting exercise to employees might not be first on your list of tactics to try, but it should be because taking regular exercise is proven to improve work productivity – and here’s why!
Slow the Inevitable
As we age, our brains slowly stop generating new brain cells. Exercise helps to slow down this process of neurogenesis, so the more exercise you do as you get older, the more advantage you will have over your less active peers. For older members of the workforce, taking regular exercise is very useful as it helps to keep their brains sharp.
The more exercise you do, the more energised you will feel. High intensity exercise is likely to make you feel tired, but low intensity exercise is just as effective. It can take a few weeks for energy levels to increase as a result of exercise, but people who regularly exercise before work usually feel more energetic during the day – and are therefore more productive.
Exercise is good for the mind as well as the body. Exercise releases nature’s ‘happy hormones’, also known as endorphins, into the brain. These are designed to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with exercise. The effect is almost immediate and people who exercise regularly are usually less stressed and more relaxed, which is great for the workplace.
Employees taking sick leave can be a major problem for businesses. People who exercise are less likely to be struck down with illness because regular exercise helps to boost the immune system. So if you encourage your employees to join the gym, they won’t succumb to every cough and cold that goes around the office.
Make Exercise Fun!
Exercise is not always much fun, particularly if you go out running at night on your own. Group exercise is more motivational and a lot of people prefer exercising in the company of friends and like-minded people. Joining a gym or signing up for personal training online with a friend is far more enjoyable.
To encourage employees to take more exercise and improve their productivity, see if a local gym offers corporate memberships and offer to subsidise the cost. Alternatively, encourage them to take part in sporting challenges in aid of charity. After all, it’s good for them and it’s good for you.