A Harvard Business Review article from 2014 entitled “Regular Exercise as Part of Your Job”[i], outlined how we generally think of exercise and its physical benefits but emphasised how increasingly scientists are studying, and we should be considering, the impact of exercise on the way we think and our performance at work.
At a cognitive level regular physical exercise helps us to:
- Improve concentration
- Improve memory
- Learn faster
- Increase mental stamina
- Increase creativity
- Lower stress
- Elevate mood
All of this obviously makes it better for everyone in the workplace, making us all nicer people and easier to get along with.
This article referenced a study that monitored over 200 employees in several organisations where exercise during regular work hours was tracked, examining individual employees and their output on exercise days vs non-exercise days. The findings were that on days employees exercised, their experience at work changed. Employees reported:
- More effective time management
- Higher productivity
- Better interactions with colleagues
- Feeling more satisfied at the end of the day
So if exercise is so good for our work performance, why aren’t we exercising more, and why isn’t it more commonly acceptable to exercise during the workday? If exercise is going to make us better at work, more productive and easier to get along with, shouldn’t it be part of our job?
In NZ, there’s no excuse why exercise should not be a part of what we do for our jobs. The Exercise Association of NZ and the IRD recognised the benefits of having a physically active workplace when they launched an initiative allowing exercise programmes within the workplace to be tax deductible and fringe benefit tax exempt with a view to addressing workplace stress and increasing productivity.
If you’re interested in an exercise or wellness programme in your workplace, talk to me about comprehensive holistic options including assessment, exercise, nutrition and lifestyle components tailored to suit your organisation.