By Victoria Phan (Accredited Exercise Physiologist)
When we’re asked to list the benefits of exercise, I’m sure most of us will focus on the physical benefits – including reducing risk of type 2 diabetes or obesity, a healthier heart, and a more attractive or stronger physique. However, more relevant to you while you’re sitting at work, is the more immediate benefit of regular exercise – and that is, its influence on the way we think. Studies have revealed that our mental wellbeing is strongly correlated to our physical routine. As a result of incorporating regular exercise into your work week, cognitive benefits include:
- Improved concentration
- Faster learning and reaction time
- Sharper working memory
- Longer mental stamina
- Enhanced creativity
- Lower stress levels
So, we’ve touched on some of the physical and mental benefits – what’s missing? Yes – you guessed it, exercise promotes amazing social benefits too. Working in an office and a team environment requires you to build interpersonal connections and foster collaborations. Exercise has been shown to elevate mood, which of course affects your workplace performance and social interactions.
Evidence suggests that exercise during regular work hours may boost performance. A study from a Leeds Metropolitan University study¹ examined the influence of daytime exercise among office workers with access to a company gym. Many of us would love the convenience of weights or a yoga studio at the office, wouldn’t we? Well, if you don’t already know – you do have access! At the EY Wellness Centre on Level 2.
Does it actually make a difference having these services? Well, the study revealed that on days when employees visited the gym their experience at work had differed; reporting more effective time management, increased productivity, smoother interactions with their colleagues, and importantly, going home feeling more satisfied at the end of the day¹.
So, what prevents us from exercising more often? For many of us, it’s that we simply just don’t have the time. Fair, when we have pressing deadlines that need to be met.
However, your health is also a priority, and we need to remember that exercise enables us to soak in more information, work more efficiently and be more productive! It’s time we forget thinking that exercise is an added luxury for only whenever we have time, but instead, considering physical activity as part of the work itself. How can we do this?
Choose a physical activity you actually like.
There are many ways to work out than jogging endlessly on a treadmill. Sign up for a social sport after work, or better still – we have a range of Pilates, Yoga, Boxing, and Boxilates fitness classes on offer right here at O2 Active. For our corporate classes, you don’t even need to step out of the building, our private clients, you don’t need to travel far.
Bring along a friend.
Exercising alone can be challenging, and hard to find the motivation. However, sign up to a class with a friend – support and push each other, and importantly have fun while you both break a sweat together. Our group classes are always a good way to catch up on the latest office goss or with those in your local community.
Incorporate it into your daily routine.
For most healthy adults, at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity is recommended, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, or a combination! Guidelines suggest you spread it out these hours during the week. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes every day. We have classes running during the lunch hours for added convenience too. Check out our full timetable for more information, or contact Caitlin for more information.