We all know the importance of exercise for our physical health, but more and more the impacts on our mental health are being explored. More specifically, exercise has been shown to improve our mood and subsequently has been demonstrated as beneficial in the treatment of mental health disorders.
Aside from this huge benefit to mental health, there has also been evidence to suggest that exercise can improve your concentration and productivity at work.
During exercise, there is an increased blood flow to the muscles that are being worked as well as your brain. This means that your brain is receiving more oxygen and other nutrients, even after exercise the effects of these can still be felt with your cognitive functions being much sharper and making you more aware. This could help you to spot mistakes at work or even find solutions to problems that otherwise may have taken you much longer.
Although you may assume that exercising would result in you feeling tired post-workout, the opposite is actually true. In fact when you exercise, your body is encouraged to produce more mitochondria within your cells. Mitochondria uses the glucose from the food you eat and the air you breathe to create fuel, this fuel is then used for the body’s energy supply. Having more energy at work means that you are more likely to complete tasks in a shorter time frame and even exceed your daily todo list.
As previously touched on, exercise can have a drastic impact on your mood. During a workout, the levels of chemicals and hormones within your brain are altered, stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol decline whereas endorphins and serotonin production are increased. Endorphins act as pain and stress relievers whilst serotonin stabilises your mood. Depending on whether you are in a good mood or a bad mood has been proven to have a positive impact on both the quality and quantity of work. Similarly your overall mood at work will have an impact on your relationships with colleagues, having a better relationship with colleagues means that you will be more likely to ask for help. This will allow you to overcome more difficult tasks that you might have otherwise struggled with for longer.
Exercise has proven time and time again to have significant physical and mental benefits, even taking part in low impact activities such as walking or yoga. If you are able to incorporate exercise into your routine it is very likely that you will start to feel the benefits both in and out of the workplace.