Global Employee Health and Fitness Month
Advantages for Both Employer and Employee
“Do yourself a favor, and realize that there’s no technique in the world that will save you. There are no pills, no secrets, and no passwords on the path to greatness. You’ve got to embrace the pain, push the threshold and feel the suck, and then you’ve got to muster the courage to go back six times a week.”
If a person wants to be sharper at work? Feel less tired at home? Spend some quality time with one’s spouse? How about enjoying a cookie without guilt? If the answered “yes” to all of these questions (and who wouldn’t?), exercise is the answer. Being physically active offers benefits far beyond the obvious. (Of course, an improved physique and a clean bill of health aren’t too shabby either.)
Exercise Boosts Brainpower: Not only does exercise improve your body, it helps your mental function, says certified trainer David Atkinson “Exercise increases energy levels and increases serotonin in the brain, which leads to improved mental clarity, says Atkinson, director of program development for Cooper Ventures, a division of the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas. All that makes for a more productive day. “It is clear that those who are active and who exercise are much more productive at work,” (Astorino, 2018) Improved productivity not only makes you a better worker, it makes things better for everyone in the workplace. Companies with less wasted work hours and less sick time end up with lower health care costs — and an improved bottom line, Astorino says.
Movement Melts Away Stress: As much as it may stress you out just to think about exercising, once you actually start working out, you’ll experience less stress in every part of your life. “Exercise produces a relaxation response that serves as a positive distraction,” says Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. He says it also helps elevate your mood and keep depression at bay.
Exercise Gives You Energy: You might be surprised at how, say, popping in a workout tape for 30 minutes in the morning can change your whole day. When endorphins are released into your bloodstream during exercise, says Astorino, “you feel much more energized the rest of the day.” The physical tiredness you feel after working out isn’t the same as everyday fatigue, he says. Besides, once your body adjusts to exercise, you’ll have more energy than ever.
It’s Not That Hard to Find Time for Fitness: The key, says Atkinson, is to use your time more wisely. Think about killing two birds with one stone.
Fitness Can Help Build Relationships: Think of what exercising with a partner can do for a relationship, whether it’s with a spouse, a sibling, or a friend you used to go to lunch with once a week. Not only that, says Astorino, but exercise is always more fun when there’s someone to do it with. So plan to walk with your spouse after dinner every night. Meet your sister or that friend for tennis or an aerobics class instead of lunch.
Exercise Helps Ward Off Disease: Research has shown that exercise can slow or help prevent heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis (bone loss), and loss of muscle mass, says Astorino. It also helps ease some aspects of the aging process.
Fitness Pumps Up Your Heart: Not only does exercise help fight disease, says Bryant, it creates a stronger heart — the most important muscle in the body. That helps makes exercise — and the activities of daily life — feel easier. “Your heart and cardiovascular system will function more effectively,” says Bryant. “The heart will build up less plaque. It will become a more efficient pump.”
Exercise Lets You Eat More: Pound for pound, muscle burns more calories at rest than body fat. So the more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate. And, of course, you also burn calories while you’re actually exercising.
Exercise Boosts Performance: After a few weeks of consistent exercise, you may feel your clothes fitting differently and see that your muscle tone has improved, Atkinson says. You may also notice your newly pumped-up muscles in other ways, especially if you’re a recreational golfer or tennis player, or like a friendly game of pick-up basketball, says Atkinson. Exercising consistently will strengthen your muscles, increase flexibility, and improve your overall performance.
Weight Loss Is Not the Most Important Goal: Weight loss is the reason many people exercise in the first place. But it’s certainly not the sole benefit of an exercise program. Bryant says the long-term goal of weight loss is sold too heavily to people starting fitness programs, and that can be discouraging. People have trouble sticking with something if they don’t see results quickly.