Workout. We all know that we need it. Many of us don't like it. And almost all of us have a hard time finding the time to do it.
Unlike sleep, workout is not something that just happens to us every day. We need to actively find the right time to do it. And many people do it during activities that take up the most time of the day, namely at work.
Workout During Working Hours
Workout starting today and you will perform better, feel better, and even perform better. This benefit has been known for a long time.
Researchers who conducted a study in the UK in 2008 found that more than 200 employees who had access to and made use of a company-provided gym were more productive and left feeling more satisfied on days when they exercised during work hours. .
In 2013, another study showed that, regardless of age, people felt "immediate benefits" for brain work when they did "one light exercise session," such as 15 minutes of pedaling on a stationary bike. These findings suggest that working out during work hours can be better than working out in the gym before or after work.
All of these benefits are in addition to all the usual benefits of physical activity, including weight loss, better sleep, better sex, better mood, and less pain.
Peter Antonio, personal trainer, fitness instructor and nutritionist at the University of Birmingham Sport, the physical fitness arm of the British university, calls lunch breaks a "golden opportunity" to exercise.
Not only does he help his client's fitness goals, but it "gives you a sense of accomplishment that can last for the rest of the day", he says.
Antonio adds that clients who exercise during the day find themselves getting more work done and getting sick less often. Plus, exercise is great for mental health, providing an opportunity to relieve yourself of the stress of the daily wave of meetings and emails.
Some people make similar arguments for maintaining recess and physical education in primary and secondary schools. Research there also shows that taking a break from repetitive tasks and taking a break from the classroom helps students learn better.
But those personal benefits are only the beginning. Exercising at work can also provide benefits on a more macro level.
There is discussion among health organizations and business leaders around the idea of ??making exercise mandatory in the workplace to combat the public health problem that permeates the workplace. More than 20 million people in the UK, for example, are physically inactive, costing the National Health Service (NHS) £1.2 billion ($1.5 billion) a year, according to the charity British Heart Foundation.
CEO Ryan Holmes, who heads the social media platform HootSuite, wrote an opinion piece several years ago, entitled "Why Now's the Time to Pay Employees to Exercise at Work".
In it, he suggests exercising at work hours that are regulated from above. After all, he says, it's hard to keep a strong team when people are dying of preventable diseases like heart disease, cancer and respiratory problems, because they're not fit.
How to do it
Christian Allen lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and runs a startup that provides customer service tools to companies. He admits that he prefers to do weight lifting, yoga, or running during working hours. But finding a group of like-minded people who prioritize working fitness makes it easier.
"I can say without hesitation that I've always felt happier and healthier over my 19 years of working at a desk when I exercise regularly," says Allen.
For the past six years, he has organized a group via the Meetup website that gets together every weekday afternoon for a game of football. He got the idea during a lunch break at his old job, when he came across a group playing soccer in the middle of the day.
"Back then, I liked to run a few days a week with some coworkers, but I liked the idea of ??incorporating something completely different into the routine."
Allen is not alone. The workplace is increasingly changing in a way that makes exercising at lunchtime easier for most of us.
More and more companies are providing in-office gyms. Some gyms also combine workspaces with their main facilities. Luxury gym franchise Equinox, for example, offers large tables and juice bars that tempt non-office workers to put their laptops in front of treadmills and elliptical machines. Some start-ups even make a room like this their main office.
But what if you're too busy to take an hour (or more) break? That's okay — experts say there are easier ways to slip exercise into your day, and you don't need a fancy gym.
"Whether it's moving for five minutes or an hour, there are real health benefits from any type of activity during work hours," says Sandy Todd Webster, editor-in-chief of the IDEA Health & Fitness Association, an organization that connects more than 14,000 personal trainers and fitness experts across the globe. the whole world.
"If you can walk or move in any way, do it. You don't need a gym. Opportunities to move are everywhere," he says.
"Bring a pair of athletic shoes and socks to the office and basically get out and about on your break or whenever you can for 10 or 20 minutes," adds Todd Webster.
"If you work in a building with stairs, always use the stairs or take the longer route to the office. The benefits will accrue."
Regardless of your personal goals or office circumstances, experts say that an hour of practice a day should be viewed as just as important as meetings.
"The key is to schedule the time," says Todd Webster. "Put that exercise schedule on your calendar — and treat it like something sacred."
Still, all of this could be easier said than done. And it's not just because some bosses might be less flexible or you just don't have a way to shower after hitting the gym.
Some jobs are difficult to do away from the desk. Allen says he's lucky to work in a place that promotes work-life balance, but it's not always easy. An erratic work schedule can disrupt exercise time, and it can also have an impact on co-workers.
"I've always worked in a team," he says, so he has to be aware of how getting out for a bit of exercise can impact his colleagues' workloads.
"I also need to consider whether teammates who don't take advantage of the policy (which allows sport during work hours) are jealous or resentful that I did it."
But he says that shouldn't scare you into prioritizing physical activity.
"It's just an excuse to be more communicative about what you do and why it's important to you," he says.