For those of you who didn’t know me before my time here at OffWhite, I was known as the guy from the Fitness Center at the local YMCA. Even to this day, more people recognize me for my time there than my time here. Maybe it’s because I worked with such a wonderful, knowledgeable staff that really made the Fitness Center a welcoming environment. It’s definitely one of those times I’ll always look back on in my life with a smile.
The reason I was thinking about this on a random Tuesday is that I recently saw an article that was shared on LinkedIn, and you can read it here: https://www.linkedin.com/comm/feed/news/4616588. It links to a BBC article entitled “How to exercise during the workday (and why it’s important).”
We’ve all been told the benefits of exercise including having a better mood/positive outlook, reduction in disease, and better sleep among many other things. But sometimes I think it gets lost on people that exercise has a very significant benefit to how productive you are at work. And I’m not talking in terms of physical labor. According to the article, a 2013 study showed that regardless of age, people experience “immediate benefits” for cognition following “a single bout of moderate exercise”, such as 15 minutes of moderately intense cycling on a stationary bike.
On a personal note, I can vouch for this. Virtually every Monday through Friday on my lunch hour, I’ve ventured over to the Y to get a workout in. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been working on a problem at work, only to walk away from it for a bit, and then have an “Ah ha!” moment in the middle of my workout for something to try when I got back to the office. And funny enough, more often than not my thought worked! On the other side of this, how many of you have been at work looking at the clock realizing you still have a couple of hours left to go in the day and find that you’re groggy? A mid-day workout can also help you get some of your energy back. I have had days in which I stayed in the office from 8 to 5 without taking a break. And those are very long days, even if I’m busy. When that happens, I’m absolutely burned out when it’s time to go home. It makes a huge difference to me when I don’t get to leave the office for some physical activity.
Now, I know what a lot of you are thinking at this point – I need my lunch break for various things and/or I don’t have time because of my work or I only have a small window for my lunch break. There are also some of you out there that just utterly don’t want to do anything physical during the day and/or want to get all hot and sweaty to come back to the office. I understand that sometimes life gets in the way, but I’ve heard all of the excuses. If you truly want to make any kind of difference in your life, you’ll make it a point to make it part of your daily routine. And you don’t need to be in the gym for hours on end. Take small steps, like going for a 10 – 15 minute walk around the block, or even around the office. You don’t even have to do this on your lunch break. Find a few minutes each hour, or block off of five or ten minutes in the morning to just move, especially if you have a desk job. You’ll find that as you do this over and over, it will become part of your daily routine. As I learned when I was a trainer at the Y, it takes 3 weeks to develop a habit, so stick with it! A healthier you, and a healthier work environment is just around the corner.
And hey, if your office doesn’t offer the benefit of a longer lunch hour so you can partake in a healthier routine, suggest it to your boss. I’m sure if you can pitch it as healthier employees making for a more efficient work environment, that would be music to everyone’s ears.