Rather than exercising at noon with a commitment to fill in an exercise quota, consider it a break for both mind and body.

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Strategies for how to fit more exercise into a day already full of work and family commitments often focus on getting up earlier or getting more done in less time. But one of the best times to find extra minutes of exercise is in the middle of the workday.

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Lunchtime fitness programs, timed to give you the perfect time to sweat, offer more than the many physical and mental benefits associated with regular exercise. Employees who leave unanswered emails and a seemingly endless to-do list behind to break a sweat in the middle of the day often ride their post-workout high until quitting time.

According to a team of researchers from the Erasmus University of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, this spillover of energy from training to workday is an underestimated and under-reported phenomenon. Hence his efforts to explore the immediate effects of lunchtime exercise on productivity and creativity in the workplace.

“We presume that satisfaction with athletic performance during the lunch break generates momentary vigor (ie, cognitive liveliness and emotional energy) immediately after the lunch break and is indirectly related to creativity at work in the afternoon. “Said the researchers.

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Much of the hype around workday fitness programs centers on metrics such as reducing employee absenteeism and medical costs or increasing job satisfaction and engagement, but much is known Little about the more immediate effects exercise has on the way employees do their jobs. To learn more about whether the glow of a good workout positively affects the second half of the workday, the research team recruited 59 Dutch employees who take exercise breaks at lunchtime.

Mostly college-educated, averaging 39 years of age and very active, study subjects spent about seven hours a week on activities such as swimming, yoga, strength training and boxing. They were surveyed twice a day, immediately after their noon workout and again at the end of the workday, for three days, allowing the researchers to obtain information on work results immediately after exercise.

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“Our results revealed that on days when employees were satisfied with their sports performance during the lunch break, they experienced more cognitive liveliness and emotional energy immediately after the break, but only when employees reflected positively on their work during sports activity.” the researchers said. . “We also found that the days when employees felt the most cognitive liveliness immediately after the lunch break, they were more creative when they returned to work.”

Based on their findings, the researchers noted the importance of participating in the kind of workouts at noon that allow for positive experiences and positive thinking. In other words, the immediate benefits of exercise are stronger after a satisfying and enjoyable workout. With this in mind, lunchtime exercise programs should not only offer opportunities to be active, but should also ensure that the atmosphere is one in which enjoyment trumps competition and individual success is paramount.

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“We suggest that employees can design their sports lunch breaks in such a way that satisfaction with sports performance is more likely, for example, by setting sports goals that are challenging and achievable and aim at personal improvement or mastery of a sports task “. the researchers said.

Also important to feelings of success is a lunchtime workout with more than just a commitment to completing the day’s exercise quota. Instead, think of it as a break for both mind and body, and choose to recharge rather than push your physical limits. The researchers were looking beyond whether training intensity or duration had an effect on the workday, focusing instead on the positive energy that flows after a bout of exercise.

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Another interesting part of your research is the potential for employees to reflect on their work while exercising. It turns out that harnessing the unique mind / body connection that occurs during a workout can offer surprising insights and renewed energy to solve workplace challenges.

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“When people feel more mentally alert, have more cognitive ability and are more willing to find creative solutions to work-related problems, which can result in behaviors such as solving difficult problems, trying new ideas and approaches to problems, and finding new uses for existing methods or equipment, ”the researchers said.

None of this is news to anyone who exercises regularly during their lunch break. Work-related obstacles are attacked with renewed vigor and often with a new approach after training. There is also a notable absence of a power bath in the late afternoon on days when lunch includes an exercise session.

Considering the potential of exercise in the middle of the day to enrich the work environment, more companies should encourage employees to find time to be physically active during the workday. Whether it’s through work-based fitness programs, scheduling flexibility to go for a walk or a run, or having the space to unfold a yoga mat or store a bike, active employees are productive employees.

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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