Sometimes, the difference between a productive day and time wasted can come down to an hour: an hour’s extra sleep, an hour’s exercise, or an hour’s deep work can have a profoundly positive impact on how you work and live. This January, we’re looking at ways to have a more productive year in a new series called Power of an Hour.
Exercise. We all know we need it. Many of us dread it. And nearly all of us struggle to find time to do it.
Unlike sleeping, exercise isn’t necessarily something that’s going to happen to us every day. We have to actively find time to fit it in. And many people are finding ways to do it during the activity that takes up most of their day: work.
Exercise during the day and you’ll look better, feel better and even work better. These benefits have long been known.
Researchers conducting a 2008 study in the UK found that that more than 200 employees who had access to and used a company gym were more productive during the day, and went home feeling more satisfied on the days they exercised during regular work hours.
In 2013, another study showed that regardless of age, people experience “immediate benefits” for cognition following “a single bout of moderate exercise”, such as 15 minutes of moderately intense cycling on a stationary bike. These findings suggest that working out during the day could be even better than bookending gym time before or after the office.
That’s on top of all the regular benefits to physical activity, including weight loss, better sleep, better sex, better mood and keeping diseases at bay.