By Noël Rozny
Web Editor & Content Manager
It’s been a bad week. You’re up to your eyeballs in work, you’ve stressed yourself out to the point that you can’t sleep, and you creative juices are running dry. A deadline is looming that’s crucial to the future of your career, so what you should do?
Want my advice? Lace up your running shoes and get to the gym.
I’ve often called a good workout the ctrl+alt+delete for an overworked brain. Any time I hit a wall in my work, nothing helps me break through it like a long run or a yoga class. But don’t take my word for it. The experts agree: exercise provides the kinds of benefits you need to succeed in your career.
Exercise Reduces Stress & Anxiety
We’ve all been stuck on the anxiety hamster wheel: your job gets stressful, that stress makes it harder to do your day-to-day activities, which only leads to more stress that you can’t seem to shake.
Exercise is the fast, safe, non-pharmaceutical answer to this kind of career block. Harvard Men’s Health Watch reported that working out has been medically proven to relive the symptoms of anxiety and depression. How, you ask? When you boost your heart rate, the body’s natural mood elevators (aka endorphins) are released. Simultaneously, the stress hormones (aka adrenaline and cortisol) start to decrease. It’s a win-win for everyone and it’s at your disposal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Exercise Increases Focus and Memory
One of the clearest signs of job burnout is a loss of focus and memory. Suddenly, a simple task that used to take you half an hour is taking up half of your morning, and you can’t seem to recall the details of meetings and reports like you used to.
You may not realize it, but according to this article in Yoga Journal, stress is what’s causing this mental fatigue. If left unchecked it could even contribute to serious illnesses like Alzheimer’s. But yoga and other exercises that involve meditation can improve cognition, the article explains, leading to better focus and attention. (Who couldn’t use more of that in their career?)
Exercise Helps You Sleep
We often equate those uber-successful career types with insomnia. There’s an ideal that the most successful business people get more work done because they’re up all hours of the night when the rest of us our getting our Z’s.
But the truth of the matter is that after too many all-nighters, you start to full dull, drained and less motivated. Chronic sleep loss can hurt your mental health, according to Web MD. This is where exercise enters the picture. Playing a game of pickup basketball, going for a bike ride or any performing any other kind of aerobic activity can help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and get a better quality of sleep – all of which leads to the kind of mental health benefits that will boost your career.
If weight management and disease prevention aren’t enough reason to hit the track, now you’ve got one more.
Have you found that regular exercise has helped you focus and succeed in your career? Let us know in the comments below!