Work out where you work – and do both better


The key to better productivity in the office may just lie in getting out of it.

Studies have shown that exercise not only boosts work performance in individuals by improving brain function, upping productivity and reducing stress, but it also has a profound effect on the workforce, as a whole. (I can definitely vouch for this, via our SweatGuru crew’s weekly “runch!”)

“Absenteeism is reduced, morale is increased and long-term health care costs are substantially impacted,” says Jim Colvin, M.P.H., fitness and health educator and trainer at Bay Club Silicon Valley.

So next time you’re temped to fight the mid-day slump with a second cup of coffee or a trip to the vending machine, think again. For managers and employees alike, Colvin offers four tips for merging physical activity with your 9-5 routine:

1. Take meetings at the gym. A new study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that participants showed significantly increased signs of focus and ability to retain and use new information immediately after a 20-minute yoga session. If you’re in a position to schedule off-sites, consider a health club venue: “The key is to build in a break to do a team workout with one of the classes being offered. The rejuvenation you will find between body and brain will result in a more stimulating discussion when the team returns to business,” says Colvin.

2. Walk and talk. “Walking for 15 minutes will burn approximately 100 calories each time,” says Colvin. Need one-on-one time with a coworker? “Instead of going for coffee, circle your floor or the block while you chat and reap the benefits of the endorphin release in the brain.”

3. Reschedule your workout. Typically work out at the end of the day? It’s a great stress reliever. But for a mental energy boost during the work day, consider hitting the gym on your way to the office or on your lunch break. Or, take 10-minute breaks throughout the day to climb a few flights in the stairwell or bang out a set of push-ups behind your desk.

4. Create a “mobile” office. “Many companies have incorporated walking treadmill stations in the office, and studies have shown that the additional steps taken resulted in reduced waist-to-hip ratios,” says Colvin. If you’re lucky enough to work from home, you can create your own treadmill desk by making a platform for your laptop across the handlebars and setting the treadmill between .7 and 1 mile per hour to be able to type comfortably while you walk. Or, for those who normally retreat to the local cafe, consider setting up shop at a work-friendly gym instead.

How do you squeeze physical activity into your workday?

2 thoughts on “Work out where you work – and do both better

  1. As a school teacher, I do not have much time to get physical activity (other than walking all over the classroom) in during the school day. That is why I workout in the am and pm hours 😉


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