Lots of people take up exercise with the goal of getting into physical shape, but these activities can also significantly increase your productivity and focus. This isn’t so hard to understand because the brain is a physical organ, and it is going to benefit from the improved physical functioning that is produced by regular moderate exertion.
Maybe you think you just don’t have the time to exercise? It could be that by the time you manage to complete all of your daily commitments, you are already so exhausted the best you can do is flop down in front of the TV. How could you possibly commit to even more activities?
The wonderful thing about exercise is that it can increase your ability to get things done. It makes you more productive due to higher levels of mental and physical energy and increased concentration. By committing to even 30 minutes of exercise per day, you may be able to get all of your other tasks completed faster because you won’t be held back by the sluggish feeling that people who are unfit tend to experience (although they may be so used to feeling sluggish that they consider it normal).
If you want to enjoy the productivity benefits of exercise, you are going to need to leave your comfort zone, but this won’t be so bad if you choose something fun. The nice thing about regular exercise is that it becomes a habit, and it becomes as natural for you to do it as it does to brush your teeth.
The key to being able to find an exercise regime you can make part of your life is to find something that you enjoy. If you are competitive, you might want to consider some type of regular team sport. If you prefer to exercise in private, you could build your own gym at home. Here are 10 effective types of exercise that would be good for increasing your productivity.
10 Outdoor Walking
You don't have to get your heart pumping and body gushing sweat in order to boost your productivity. Steve Jobs kept his mind sharp by going for long outdoor walks, and this type of exercise has also worked well for incredibly productive people like Stephen King, Thomas Jefferson, and Noel Coward.
One of the advantages of walking is that you don’t actually need to buy any specialized equipment. It also means that you are going to be spending time outdoors, and this is important for mental health.
9 Office Workouts
If your work commitments mean you just can’t make the time to go to the gym, you could double-up by exercising at the office. You could buy equipment like weights and a skipping rope, and keep these close to your desk, but if you don’t have much privacy and you are too embarrassed, there are also exercises you can do without your colleagues noticing.
A good example of an exercise you could do secretly in the office would be squeezing a stress-ball, this not only allows you to release tension from your body, but it can also help you work your muscles. Other options would include sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair, doing light stretches, and doing butt squeezes and release (this can improve the strength of some of your core muscles).
8 Eight Minute Workouts
Eight minute workouts are incredibly popular at the moment, and it is likely that some of the claims for this approach are exaggerated, but there is little doubt that these short workouts are going to be better than no workouts.
You can find many free videos for this type of activity on YouTube, and there are also apps you can download to your smart phone or tablet device.
7 Asana Yoga
Asana yoga is where you hold certain body poses that can be simple or complex. The wonderful thing about this option is that it combines physical exercise with relaxation and meditation – there are also some forms of asana yoga that can get your heart pumping.
It is usually best to learn this practice from a qualified teacher, but once you understand the basics, you’ll be able to do this work-out on your own at home to boost your productivity.
6 The Five Tibetans
You don’t need to learn lots of yoga postures in order to gain at least some of the benefits of this type of exercise. The Five Tibetans are easy to learn, and they may be enough to keep you at a reasonable level of physical and mental fitness. The five yoga postures you need to learn for this practice include:
• Spinning clockwise• Leg lifts from the lying position• Camel posture• Tabletop posture• Downward dog position changing to cobra position
You can start off by just doing five of each of these postures, and then slowly build it up until you can manage 21 repetitions of each.
5 Martial Arts
Martial arts are fun, competitive, social, and practical – these fighting styles can also help you develop all-round general fitness.
If you want to push yourself hard, you could consider something like Muay Thai or Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. Karate or Kung-Fu can be a good option if want to focus more on the art of fighting. Tae-Kwon-Do offers a good mix of physical intensity with pure enjoyment.
4 Tai Chi
Tai Chi is an effective martial art, but it is mostly practiced as a system for maintain life-long health. If you visit a park in a reasonably sized city around dawn, you are almost sure to see people practicing Tai Chi. It is a relaxing type of exercise, but it is also going to be good for increasing your focus and productivity.
3 Treadmill Desk
Purchasing a treadmill desk means you can exercise as you work. This is taking multi-tasking to a whole new level, but once you get used to it, you won’t even notice that you are walking.
Sitting down all day can be incredibly unhealthy, but this type of standing-up desk means you are free to move – it also means you are going to be burning more calories as you work. There is also evidence to suggest that using a treadmill desk can make people more creative.
2 Stair Climbing
Stair climbing is now so popular that there competitive events springing up all across the US. This is a great option for anyone who wants to lose weight because it can burn so many calories.
You can begin to see the benefits of this exercise by simply choosing to always use the stairs rather than an elevator. If you have stairs or steps at your home, you can use these as a type of workout.
1 Work Challenges
If you are struggling to develop enough motivation for exercise, maybe you need to consider some type of challenge involving someone at work. Think of a person who annoys you intensely, and imagine how great it would to be victorious over them.
The challenge could be anything physical, such as a mini-marathon, a football match, a hike, or a swimming race. Of course, you’ll want to be sure that you are physically up to the challenge before committing to it (it is probably a good idea to speak to your doctor first).