So many of us who work full-time don’t feel there is enough time during the day to exercise. Studies show that daily exercise improves our mood and our ability to focus. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the tasks and the stresses of the day, but the costs may be lowered effectiveness and productivity. Spending just 10 minutes a day on something as simple as stretching or walking briskly can cancel out the negative effects of stress on the brain.
Our brains focus on the task at hand when in stress mode, but an exercise break allows us to think abstractly and pay more attention to our surroundings. We can then return to the task with a fresh perspective. When we are in stress mode, our energy levels tend to decrease which leads to reaching for energy drinks and salty carbohydrate-laden foods. These things will elevate our moods and our energy for a short time and then we dive back down. Chronic stress can make it difficult to get going in the morning, but then leave us too keyed up to get to sleep at bedtime. If we don’t sleep enough over a period of time, we tend to be less efficient and less productive. Even small changes in our routine, that include exercise, can lead to a better sense of well-being.
While at work, exercise can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or standing up to stretch and taking the long route to the bathroom. Or, consider stopping everything and think about nothing for awhile. Take a time out from the busy day and take a few deep breaths. And if conditions permit, get outside and take a short walk.
When the work day is over and you have a pet waiting for you at home, there is another opportunity for exercise. If you exercise your pet, or exercise with your pet, you will both have a greater sense of well-being.