Exercise and Productivity

Exercise and Productivity: How to fit it all in.

In the whirlwind of life as a mom in her forties, navigating multiple businesses, and finding time for exercise may seem like a puzzle. Yet, the synergy between exercise and productivity is a game-changer. In today’s warp-speed world, prioritizing wellness isn’t just about fitness; it’s an investment in work performance and overall well-being.

If you get brain fog in the afternoon and feel like you are staring at your screen instead of actually completing those projects and tasks, you are not alone. There is a reason for that, but it can be improved and you can become more alert, energized, and productive, getting more done in less time, if you invest a bit of time into movement and your health. 

Exercise Affects Productivity.

Working out isn’t just for our body, it’s for our brain and it really makes a difference in how well you perform at your job or in your own business. Exercise and productivity at work are not entirely two separate things, in the sense that one can positively impact the other, so investing a bit of time into your health can pay dividends in multiple areas of your life, especially your work or business. 

The Dance of Time: Balancing Exercise and Productivity at Work.

Life in the 40s is like riding a roller coaster, exhilarating and sometimes dizzying. Between conference calls, school runs, and managing deadlines, who has time for exercise, right? Well, here’s the kicker – it’s not about having time; it’s about making time.

Lunch Break Liberation: Unleashing Productivity in Minutes.

Ever tried a power-packed lunch break workout? Trust me; it’s worth pausing your project for, only to do it better afterward. A brisk walk, a few stretches – it’s not just about the body. It’s about giving your brain a breather. According to the University of Bristol, those who sneak in a bit of exercise during lunch break report soaring productivity levels. Who would’ve thought that a 15-minute stroll could do wonders?

How to exercise at your desk

Mood, Meet Exercise: A Love Story for Exercise and Productivity.

Exercise isn’t just about sculpting bodies; it’s about sculpting moods too. You’ve heard of those “feel-good” hormones, right? Well, they’re real. A quick dose of exercise floods your system with these mood-lifters. Suddenly, tasks seem less daunting, and productivity becomes second nature. Trust me; a happy mind is a productive mind.

Neurological Impact: How Exercise Supercharges Your Brain.

Unbeknownst to many, exercise is a potent cognitive enhancer. It triggers the release of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), a superstar in cognitive function. BDNF nurtures brain cell growth and sharpens synaptic plasticity, resulting in a turbocharged brain. By embracing exercise, you’re not just treating your body; you’re nurturing a razor-sharp mind.

The positive effects of exercise on brain function have been well-documented in numerous studies. Research from Duke University has shown that engaging in regular exercise can lead to improved cognitive function, resulting in better work-related outcomes. A systematic review of the latest research conducted by Briston University concluded that even a few minutes of physical activity each day can have a direct impact on brain function, leading to a clearer mind and more productive work hours.

For me, this is the clincher. A sharp mind is my most valuable asset in managing both my businesses and my household. Exercise ensures that my cognitive faculties remain razor-sharp as much as possible, even as the demands of my roles evolve.

Work-Life Balance.

Balancing the demands of work, family, and personal wellness is an art form. I’ve learned that carving out time for exercise isn’t just a gift to myself; it’s an investment in my family’s well-being.

A person who feels energized and empowered can pour more into her loved ones and her work. It’s a ripple effect that creates a thriving, harmonious household. Not to mention that you are teaching your kids to take care of their health and that fitness should always be a normal part of life regardless of age.

Creating a Routine that Works: Tips for Busy Moms.

Incorporating daily exercise into a packed schedule requires some strategic planning. Busy moms can start by designating specific times for exercise, such as early mornings or during children’s nap times. Additionally, considering family-friendly activities like team sports or family bike rides can turn exercise into a fun bonding experience. Even unscheduled breaks can be an opportunity for a quick bodyweight workout or stretching routine. 

I get a tight lower back when I spend more than 3 hours at my computer and it makes me restless and uncomfortable. For me, it’s a signal to get up off the chair and do a few mobility exercises like a deep squat hold or stretch my hamstrings and do a few shoulder rotations. I feel awake and refreshed and suddenly not sleepy anymore, and ready to get stuck back into it again. 

Mom working on lap top while holding baby

Balancing Work and Family Life.

For working moms, the shift toward remote work has been a game-changer. It offers a unique opportunity to blend professional responsibilities with the demands of a busy household. Regular exercise becomes a crucial tool in this juggling act. By incorporating exercise into their daily routine, working moms can effectively manage stress, boost productivity, and elevate their overall well-being.

If you spend many hours at your computer, starting your day with a workout will make a huge difference in how much more work you will accomplish in short hours, before entering the mom-duty time zone in the after-school pick-up. Every minute we have kid-free has to count right? Especially if you are running your own business.

Managing Stress with Exercise.

The demands of work and family life can often lead to heightened levels of stress. Daily exercise provides a welcome respite, allowing busy moms to decompress and rejuvenate. Even just a few minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine, can result in a noticeable improvement in mood and a reduction in stress levels. Whether you just decide to go for a walk or get a quick full-body workout in with weights, exercise provides a much-needed escape from the daily hustle and bustle.

10 simple tips to incorporate movement and exercise into your busy workday without sacrificing productivity:

  1. Start your day with a workout: Get up early get a workout in at the gym or outdoors, or join a morning class if you struggle with accountability and consistency. Let’s be honest if you leave it till after work, there is a good chance you might not find the time or energy to do it and postpone it yet to another day. If you do it in the morning you will eliminate the possibility of bailing on your workout that day due to tiredness or running out of time.  

  2. Take mini breaks during the work day: Set a timer for every 1 to 2 hours. When it goes off, stand up, stretch, and walk around for a few minutes, better yet go refill your water so you can also stay hydrated. 

  3. Desk stretches: Incorporate simple stretches at your desk. Stretch your arms, legs, and neck to relieve tension and promote flexibility.

  4. Seated leg raises: While seated, lift and extend one leg straight out, hold for a few seconds, then lower. Switch legs. This strengthens your legs and stretches your hamstring muscles without leaving your chair.

  5. Standing meetings: Suggest standing meetings or walking meetings whenever possible. This promotes movement and can lead to more dynamic discussions.

  6. Use the stairs: If you work in a multi-story building, opt for the stairs instead of the elevator. Or if you work from home and have a flight of stairs then go up and down them as much as possible. It’s a quick and effective way to get your heart rate up.

  7. Desk push-ups: Stand a little distance from your desk, place your hands on the edge, and do a set of push-ups. Do you want toned arms? Push-ups will do it. 

  8. Wall sits: Find a clear space against a wall. Slide down into a sitting position with your back against the wall, holding it for 30-60 seconds. This is excellent for leg strength.

  9. Calf raises: While waiting for a document to print or a file to load, do some calf raises by lifting your heels off the ground and then lowering them.

  10. Invest in an under-desk treadmill if you can: They are compact and you can use them during meetings, webinars, or even while typing those long reports and letters. Now, that’s taking multitasking to the next level. 

Consequences of a Sedentary Lifestyle.

A sedentary lifestyle diminishes blood flow and hinders the delivery of vital nutrients and oxygen to the brain, ultimately affecting cognitive functions such as memory, problem-solving, and attention span. Additionally, sedentary habits can contribute to the onset of conditions like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which further exacerbate the impact on our brain function.

However, incorporating regular exercise, even in moderate forms, can significantly mitigate these risks. It serves to preserve cognitive function and bolster productivity well into mature age. Engaging in physical activity has been associated with the release of neurotrophic factors, which play a crucial role in promoting the growth and survival of brain cells. 

Empowering Cognitive Function through Fitness.

By prioritizing fitness, particularly as we age, we empower ourselves to maintain sharp cognitive function. This, in turn, allows us to navigate work and daily responsibilities with acuity and efficiency. Recognizing the intricate connection between exercise, brain health, and productivity is not only crucial as we get older, but serves as a testament to the enduring benefits of an active lifestyle.

Exercise and Chronic Diseases: The Shield of Wellness.

As we mature, safeguarding our health becomes paramount. Regular exercise is a potent shield against chronic diseases, including cardiovascular ailments. Studies, such as those conducted by Leeds Metropolitan University, have shown that individuals who make a habit of regular exercise are less likely to take unscheduled breaks or experience a decline in job performance due to chronic diseases.

In my experience, investing in exercise isn’t just about the present; it’s a down payment on a future of vitality and strength.

The Bottom Line: Exercise for a Productive and Fulfilling Work Life.

In conclusion, the benefits of exercise extend far beyond physical health. Regular physical activity has a profound impact on job performance, job satisfaction, and overall well-being. Whether it’s aerobic training, strength training, or team sports, finding a type of exercise that suits your preferences and schedule can lead to significant changes in your work-related outcomes. By making daily exercise a habit, you’ll not only experience better health but also enjoy a more productive and fulfilling work life.

Remember, you’re not just investing in your present, but also in a future that’s vibrant, dynamic, and filled with opportunities. Through exercise, you’re not just staying active; you’re fuelling a life that thrives. And that’s a legacy worth building.

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