How a Healthy Lifestyle Can Improve Your Work Life

How a Healthy Lifestyle Can Improve Your Work Life

When most people think about exercising and following a nutritious diet they think of the benefits to their health and body composition. The new dress they will be able to buy, or the reflection in the mirror. While these are important goals, the benefits that exercise and nutrition can have on your work life are perhaps as important, if not more.

In this article we are going to take a look at some of the lesser known benefits of exercise and nutrition, and concentrate on how your work life can benefit from the healthy decisions that you can make.

Benefit #1. Improved Sleep Quality

Exercising has been shown to improve sleep quality, as has following a healthy diet. A 2010 study found that aerobic exercise helped improve sleep quality in previously sedentary adults [1]. While other studies have shown that combining exercise with a healthy diet can help treat sleep issues such as Insomnia or Sleep Apnea [2].

How does this help your office/work life? Well improving your sleep can improve your mood, reduce stress, and help improve your cognitive function. You’ll be able to make better decisions, your memory will be improved, and you’ll have more focus and energy during the day.

Benefit #2. Improved Reaction to Stress

It has been known for a while that exercise can help to reduce or relieve stress, not by removing the cause of stress but by improving how we respond to it. Salmon (2001) talks about how physical exercise can positively affect anxiety, depression and our sensitivity to stress, and how we can use this as a way to improve our mental health [3].

When you’re working it is impossible to avoid stress (unless you have no interest in the work you are doing), so instead of trying to eliminate stress you should be working on how to manage it. There are many ways to do this, meditation, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), but exercise and a healthy diet can also play a huge role in this. Not to mention the fact that improved sleep can also improve your ability to handle stress, which we covered in benefit #1.

Benefit #3. Improved Mental Focus

You’d be surprised how effective habitual exercise can be at improving your mental focus, a 2013 study found that exercise can immediately improve cognition in both the young and old [4]. It can also help your decision making skills, which is a useful skill for basically any job that you can have [5]. A study by Adam et al (1997) found that exercise can also improve the way that we process information [6].

Exercise achieves this by increasing blood flow to the brain, and by increasing hormones such as testosterone which has been shown to improve focus and performance.

Benefit #4. Exercise can Increase Strength & Endurance

When we talk about work life, most of the time it is geared towards office or shop workers. But the majority of people in the world will have a manual or highly active job. In this case exercising regularly and eating a high protein diet can help to increase strength, and endurance. This will help you to perform your job at a high level for longer. Even if your job just involves a lot of standing, then exercise can help.

Final Thoughts

Studies have consistently shown that people who are physically active tend to be more successful, particularly when it comes to mental focus and ability to learn. Spending time in the gym won’t just give you a better body, it may also help you perform your job better – maybe even help you get that promotion you’ve been dreaming of!

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[1] Reid, K., Baron, K., Lu, B., Naylor, E., Wolfe, L., Zee, P. 2010. Aerobic exercise improves self-reported sleep and quality of life in older adults with insomnia. Sleep Medicine 11(9): 934-940


[2] Barnes, M., Goldsworthy, U., Carry, B., Hill, C. 2009. A diet and exercise program to improve clinical outcomes in patients with obstructive sleep apnea – a feasibility study. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine 5(5): 409-415


[3] Salmon, P. 2001. Effects of physical exercise on anxiety, depression, and sensitivity to stress: A unifying theory. Clinical Psychology Review 21(1): 33-61


[4] Hogan, C., Mata, J., Carstensen, L. 2013. Exercise holds immediate benefits for affect and cognition in younger and older adults. Psychology & Aging 28(2): 587-594


[5] McMorris, T., Graydon, J. 1996. The effect of exercise on the decision-making performance of experienced and inexperienced soccer players. Research Quarterly for Exercise & Sport 67(1): 109-114


[6] Adam, J., Teeken, J., Ypelaar, P., Verstappen, F., Paas, F. 1997. Exercise-induced arousal and information processing. International Journal of Sport Psychology 28(3): 217-226