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It's no secret that the positive effects of exercise aren't limited to shaping the body - active, in-shape individuals notice an increase in energy, higher self-confidence and a more positive outlook on life. As it turns out, the positive effects of exercise on your personal life also spill over into the workplace. Although it might seem difficult to quantify, researchers and health professionals offer plenty of solid evidence on the subject.
The positive effects of exercise on work performance span far and wide. In addition to sharpening mental performance, regular physical activity improves time-management skills, which in turn improve your ability to meet deadlines. Business owners who offer company exercise programs find that on-site exercise decreases turnaround time. Exercise causes an overall work performance boost of about 15 percent, according to a 2005 study performed by health professor Jim McKenna of Leeds Metropolitan University. Harvard researchers find that post-workout blood flow creates the optimal conditions for performing tasks that require focused thinking.
Anyone who has spent a day at the office, checkout counter or processing plant knows that your mood greatly influences your work performance. Exercise is something of an elixir here; workers who exercise report positive effects including increased tolerance, lessened tempers, relieved anxiety and depression, heightened morale and a greater sense of calmness. Studies by McKenna, the University of Bristol and others quantify these findings by administering questionnaires to employees who exercise. At the end of the day, workers who exercise report that they simply feel more productive and more satisfied than those who don't.
Although it might seem contradictory, exercising can actually give you more energy in the workplace, helping you avoid the post-lunch crash. It also potentially improves your ability to act as a team player, an essential element to productivity. McKenna's findings note that well-exercised employees are less likely to lose their temper with others. In 2008, a study from the University of Bristol noted that workers who exercised took 25 percent less unscheduled breaks than those who didn't. Similarly, the Journal of Exercise Physiology reports that employees who follow a fitness program exhibit a 22 percent decrease in absenteeism. The American Council on Exercise finds that exercise even causes a 17 percent decrease in the amount of on-the-job injuries.
Most studies conducted on the relationship between exercise and work performance find it most effective for employees to exercise on work days, either before work or while on break. Researchers find that any type of exercise, from team sports to yoga to speedwalking, does the trick. Further, research conducted on the issue has spanned numerous types of workplaces - from tech companies to academic environments - and produced the same positive findings.