Exercise and productivity

By Francisco Sáez • June 13, 2011

When Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Group) was asked in an interview what advice would he give to those who want to be more productive, his answer was completely unpredictable: “Work out”. He said that being physically fit was a major reason he was so productive. Exercise causes the body to release endorphins, chemicals substances that produce a great feeling of wellness. Branson believes that working out increases his productivity by 3/4 hours by giving him energy and helping focus.

Branson’s answer doesn’t sound so odd to those who have the habit of doing sports on a regular basis. I’ve been doing exercise 3 or 4 days a week all my life—basketball and soccer many years ago, athletics fewer years ago, and weight training now—and I’ve always had the feeling of being more awake, perceptive and active on training days.

In 2005, a study conducted by the University of Bristol suggested that doing exercise before going to work, or at lunchtime, helps eliminate stress and improves productivity. The study concluded that people who did some exercise before work felt more motivated to face the daily workload than those who did nothing. These workers showed higher concentration rates and better time management, finishing more tasks on time than the rest. Furthermore, they acknowledged being in a better mood during training days and, therefore, their interpersonal relationships at work improved.

To sum up, exercise is good for you and your company. Companies want you to be more productive and not to get sick easily, so some of them are beginning to provide their own sports facilities, and others provide memberships or discounts on gyms nearby. And you do care about your health, both physical and mental. The typical low back and neck pains of sedentary jobs may disappear with certain exercises. And I can assure you’ll have more energy and you’ll feel better in general. Are you still inactive? What are you waiting for?

About the author

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Francisco Sáez (@franciscojsaez) is the founder and CEO of FacileThings. He is also a web developer specializing in Ruby on Rails who is passionate about personal productivity and GTD as a means to a better life.

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