We recently discussed the cost of sleepless nights as a result of a GCC Insights report. Interestingly, the report also touched on the importance of exercise and how it affects sleep patterns. In one of my previous blogs, ‘Why Being Inactive Affects Your Worklife’, I looked at worklife in general, but today I’m going to look at the positive impacts exercise can have on your productivity.
Let’s start with sleep
We all know that if you have a poor nights sleep it is difficult to stay focused and be productive the next day. The Director of Research, FCDP – Dr David Batman – said, “Independent research undertaken on GCC participants in the 2014 challenge demonstrates that sleep improves with increase step count in a linear fashion.”
He goes on to discuss how they have come to the obvious conclusion that simple exercise improves sleep, and the combined result means an increase in personal and business performance.
GCC provided an excellent analogy – when you think of health, imagine sleep, nutrition and physical activity as the three legs of a stool. If all three legs aren’t taken care of, the stool falls over.
To be productive you need to be alert. Exercising increases blood flow to the brain which sharpens your awareness, making sure you are at the top of your game.
Even if you don’t have time to hit the gym every morning, or you can’t bring yourself to swap the car for a bike, make small changes such as taking the stairs, or having walking meetings. These little things can make a big difference.
Improve mental health
This is a hot topic today, with more and more people suffering from mental health issues, many of which are brought on by increased stress levels. Increased productivity will improve mental health, and as regular exercise can assist with reducing feelings of anxiety and depression, it’s a great place to start.
It’s not just an increase of blood flow to the brain that exercise produces, but also serotonin. The University of Cambridge explains that serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that sends messages to the body to stimulate mood and emotion.
This means improved state of mind, reduced stress levels and hopefully improved relationships, just from taking part in regular exercise.
Exercise is proven to improve mood, reduce stress and studies show it also strengthens circadian rhythms (these encourage alertness during the day and sleepiness during the night).
Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine undertook a study which showed that regular exercise can dramatically improve the quantity of sleep, adding up to 1.25 hours per night!
Rachel Matthews, Social Media and Marketing Manager
In my blogs I will look at industry constraints and issues and problems that employees face in their day-to-day work lives.
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