Since my early days of late night ballet classes to quick gym sessions in between college classes, I’ve always been pretty good at fitting workouts into my daily schedule. It wasn’t until I started my career (as an intern at ClassPass, no less) that I realized just how impactful my exercise routine was. While skipping an hour of the dreaded elliptical in favor of attending frat parties was a must for me just a mere few years ago, it wasn’t until I was working a regular 9-5 office job that I began to realize how much skipping a workout affected my performance at work.
While you would think squeezing in a morning class before heading to the office would deplete me of the few bits of energy I had in the first place, I quickly discovered the opposite was the case: not exercising actually made me feel more drained, unfocused and simply unmotivated to get what I needed to get done.
And truthfully, there’s science to back up my claim. A research-backed article by the Huffington Post dives into how working out can impact your productivity levels at work: “Physical exercise stimulates the development of new mitochondria within your cells, meaning that your body will be able to produce more ATP over time. That gives you more energy to exert yourself physically, but it also means more energy for your brain, boosting your mental output.”
While that fact alone keeps me motivated to work out a few times during the work week, there are a plethora of other benefits for your career that come with heading to class. Keep reading for all the different ways working out can improve your work performance.
1. You’ll Feel More Energized
As mentioned earlier, working out gives you more energy to tackle tasks and focus for long periods of time. According to Everyday Health, “exercise boosts cardiovascular health, which allows you to have greater endurance throughout the day.” As long as you’re getting your heart rate up in some capacity, you’ll reap the benefits of more energy throughout the day. And once work is over, you won’t feel so drained and exhausted (and have more energy to attend a happy hour or catch up on your favorite Netflix show).
2. You’ll Cope with Work-Related Stress and Anxiety Better
As Elle Woods would say, “exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!” And okay, okay, while we’re talking about stress here, not a crime, the rule still applies. “When you exercise, your brain releases serotonin that helps you feel better and improves your state of mind, making the stresses of work easier to handle,” according to Livestrong.
3. You’ll Have Better Focus
If you constantly find yourself scrolling through Instagram at your desk or heading to the kitchen for a snack as a distraction to your brain fog, try fitting a class into your morning routine before heading to the office (we know, we know). In a Forbes article on how exercise can make you smarter, Dr. John Ratey, author of ‘Spark – The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain’ says that exercise improves your brain in the short term by raising your focus for two to three hours afterward.” And truthfully, have you ever taken a morning class and noticed how much more on task you are at work? That might be motivation enough to set your alarm clock a little bit earlier.
4. You’ll Get Sick Less Often
More exercise equals better immunity and better immunity equals fewer sick days. By adding a regular exercise routine into your schedule, you’ll set yourself up for more time spent out of office at the beach, and not in bed. Worth it!