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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Study: Employees more productive on days they exercise

27 October, 2012
Research from the University of Bristol titled exercising at work and self-reported work performance has shown that people who exercise on work days are more productive, happier and experience less stress than on non gym days.

Most people will have had an inkling that this was the case, but how often have you actually followed this advice? How many times have you skipped the gym because you are too busy with work or social commitments?

But, maybe you can show more commitment to the cause of exercise now that there is hard scientific evidence to suggest that if you have a work-out before going to work or exercise during lunch breaks, you are much better equipped to handle whatever challenges you may face that day.

They also found that the general mood of people improved on exercise days. The research, published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, is the first of its kind to prove that exercising during work hours will provide both physical and mental benefits.

Jo Coulson, Research Associate in the University’s Department of Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences said that ‘Critically, workers performed significantly better on exercise days and across all three areas we measured, known as mental-interpersonal, output and time demands.’

The actual findings derived from 200 participants in the study were:

  • 72% reported improvements in time management on exercise days compared to non-exercise days.

  • 79% said mental and interpersonal performance was better on days they exercised.

  • 74% said they managed their workload better.

What does this mean for employers and staff? This should send a strong message to both employers and employees. That is, employers should be actively encouraging employees to take their breaks - and make it easy for them to get exercise before, during or after work. This could include locating your office at a place with an on-site gym or at least near one, or providing showers and changing facilities so employees can go for a run at lunch time, or even run to work. Think about setting up sports teams, such as a weekly football or badminton game which employees can attend. If employers do this, they should see an corresponding increase in productivity from their staff.

Staff should take full advantages of any gym or sports facilities or sports events provided by the employer as this will increase your performance, productivity and career prospects. Of course try and get some exercise before work or during lunch breaks if you can.

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