Physical exercise is a great way to release tension and clear your mind, as well as maintaining a healthy body. So how does exercise help your mind? By increasing the blood and oxygen flow to the brain and increasing chemicals in the brain that assist processing and applying information.
Exercise also uses up excess adrenaline (released when stressed) and lets loose greater amounts of those wonderful mood-elevating chemicals, endorphins. If you think about it, most of us don’t worry when exercising. Instead we are resting the nerve cells in the brain that worry, giving them time to renew.
Deciding what to do
Below are some things that might be worth considering incorporating into your working day. Everyone is different, so choose what seems fun and easy to you.
Exercise while you work
- Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair as this will strengthen your abs and back and improve your posture.
- Use a pedometer and keep track of how many steps you take. Aim for 6,000 to10,000 steps a day.
- If you don’t work from home, try to walk, run or ride a bike to your office. If you take the bus, get off a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way.
- Take the stairs whenever you can.
- If you travel for work, pack a skipping-rope or choose a hotel that has a gym. If you’re stuck waiting for your flight, grab your bags and take a walk.
- Go to a cafe for lunch or a coffee break and park a few streets away so you need to walk there and back…and buy something healthy!
- Get a headset for your phone so you can move around while you talk.
- Keep a resistance band or ankle weights in your desk drawer and squeeze in some quick exercises while on the phone.
- Take fitness breaks, whereby you set an alarm to go off every hour to remind you to stand up, stretch and move around, even take a short walk or dance to some music.
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Exercise with others
If you a soloist that works alone, then perhaps exercise is an avenue that will bring you into contact with other people. An exercise group can give its members support, encouragement and networking opportunities.
First, create a team with colleagues and clients, then:
- Start a walking group for mornings, lunchtimes or after work, or
- Join a local gym that will provide a membership discount for your group, or
- Work with a personal trainer to provide regular sessions for your group.
Whether exercising alone or with others, factor it in your appointment diary – and resist changing your exercise plans for work interruptions.
Give exercise while you work a trial run. You will wonder what took you so long to work out that a workout helps your work out!