Exercise and Productivity

By Rich Baudry PT, DPT, OCS

Have you ever noticed when you are slow at work your energy as well as efficiency and productivity levels suffer; conversely, when you are busy you manage to perform much more effectively with greater efficiency. Sometimes doing more begets doing more and with exercise there is no exception.

Our bodies basically respond to the challenge or lack of challenge we put on them. The majority of Americans are under challenged physically throughout their day. We sit too much, eat too much, and often don’t treat our bodies well at all. As a result, we get weak, tight and lazy. Adding exercise challenges the body to get stronger; the stronger our body is the better it  performs.

There are many studies to support the benefits of exercise on productivity. In an article published by Work in 2009, H. Tamim demonstrates how attending Tai Chi class twice a week was been shown to improve resting heart rate, waist circumference, grip strength, and psychological well-being in female computer users. (1)

“Having energy or alertness is primarily controlled by hormones,” says Baudry Therapy Center’s Exercise Physiologist Tim Allerton MS, CPT, EP. “During exercise a tremendous amount of epinephrine and norepinephrine are released into our blood stream. Norepinephrine reaches the nerve fibers of our brains and increases wakefulness. Epinephrine has a tremendous effect on our metabolism. Exercise also releases beta-endorphins which bond with the opioid receptors of our brain to promote feelings of well being and relaxation.  The effects of this hormonal change can last for hours after a bout of exercise!”

In another journal article, MT Pedersen shows decreases in systolic blood pressure, percent of body fat, shoulder and neck pain, increases in muscle strength, and Oxygen uptake in two types of exercise groups over a one year controlled trial. (2)

Allerton adds, “From a physiological standpoint regular exercise has a positive effect on heart rate and blood pressure because of the adaptations of the heart muscle and peripheral vessels.  A bout of exercise will increase the heart rate to meet the demand of the activity. During this process the heart muscle grows stronger and ejects more oxygen-rich blood for every beat.  At rest, the demand of exercise is not present; however, the heart beats forcefully providing the body with enough blood, but with less beats.”

With the grind of work and family life, energy is at a premium. So if you are looking for more energy, less pain, or physiological well-being, add some exercise to your life. A little bit can go a long way.

Whether you start walking at lunch, visit the gym, or do some push ups at the office, I guarantee you will feel better and have more energy.

For more information on how to get started with an exercise program or to find the exercise that is right for you,  give us a call.

(1) Tamim, H. et al. Tai Chi workplace program for improving musculoskeletal fitness among computer users. Work, 2009; 34(3): 331-8 (45 ref)

(2) Pedersen, MT et al. The effect of worksite physical activity intervention on physical capacity, health, and productivity: a 1-year randomized controlled trial. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, 2009 Jul; 51(7): 759-70 (47 ref)