We all know that there are plenty of benefits of working out — most of them physical — but, unsurprisingly, the positive psychological benefits of working out are aplenty, too. If you’re anything like me, there’s just nothing better than going for a long run following a rough day of work, helping to decompress, blast some of your favorite music through your headphones and recalibrating for the rest of the evening. It’s truly a freeing experience.
Considering the correlation between working out and the psyche of a person, I figured I’d dive a little bit deeper into exploring some of the benefits of working out, focusing on how being active can positively influence your career. And, after doing some research on the topic, I found that there’s absolutely a link between working out and success in your career, here’s how.
According to a 2013 study from the Department of Psychology at Stanford University, physical activity is associated with improved affective experience and enhanced cognitive processing. That’s the conclusion the study came to after discussing the topic with 144 participants, aged 19 to 93, with the results showing that exercise is associated with increased levels of high-arousal positive affect (HAP) and decreased levels of low-arousal positive affect (LAP) relative to control condition. Therefore, staying active is critical in daily factor with career success, with the study showing these important traits were noticeable for those who regularly worked out.
While all the information here is useful, working out on a regular basis still takes commitment. Let’s face it, how many times do you find yourself getting home from work and just lounging on the couch, Netflix and chilling by yourself? Probably all too often. For that reason, here are some tips on how to make working out a priority, becoming part of your daily routine so it doesn’t feel like a chore.
As mentioned above, I’m a big-time runner, often known to run as many as 10-plus miles after a long day of work for no other reason than to clear my mind. That said, I know a lot of people aren’t as excited to run as I am, often opting for a fitness class or a quick session on the elliptical at the gym.
Working out shouldn’t be another stressful thing in your life, so, when finding your routine, make sure it’s something you actually look forward to doing each day. Sure, it’s going to test you physically, but having a love-hate relationship with your daily routine is going to do more harm than good.
Looking to run a half-marathon? Go for it, but follow the process necessary so not to injure yourself or train the wrong way. Much like in your career, workout goals are good ways to challenge yourself and learn something new. They require both physical and mental strength, and, for those who truly want to reach a goal, they’ll stop at nothing to achieve it.
Setting workout goals help lead to better performance by educating yourself — through personal experiences and other educational resources like reading or talking to an expert — which is how you should be handling your career growth to reach the level you want to.
There are times when I’m running and my legs feel like absolute jelly, my mind is beat to death and I just can’t focus on finishing. This is where I push myself to finish strong and leave everything I have in my workout.
Much like in your career, when you’re trying to impress your boss, coworkers and yourself, it takes extra effort to exceed expectations. That’s where working out can help your mindset with work, helping develop a mindset that won’t settle for mediocrity. By pushing yourself during a workout and experience that mental and physical pain, you’ll develop the characteristics to conquer anything that your career throws your way.
Much like in business, at times, communication and collaboration are best. So, when you’re feeling like you need some extra motivation to sneak in some exercise, don’t be afraid of going to the gym for a workout class. The energy from other people will inspire you to be your best and, whether you’ve been before or not, you’ll leave learning something new.
There’s a reason why companies hire different people with unique personalities and strengths, it’s to balance out the company culture by having people work together. Similarly, working out with other people can deliver the same experience, and those are traits a person can keep with them and apply to their daily work.
Now that you understand the benefits of working out in relation to your career, remember to push yourself and stay active — even on those days when you’re feeling tired. It may not seem like it’s important in the moment, but, as the above shows, exercise trains your brain and delivers a punch necessary to stay sharp with work.
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