You might never have considered exercise before work if you’re someone who’s always in a rush and worrying there aren’t enough hours in the day. However, you could be missing out if you’re simply grabbing a coffee and running out for the daily commute.
Research shows how important exercise is for both physical and mental health. Rather than being another drain on our time, exercising before work can positively impact our energy levels, focus, creativity, productivity and problem-solving abilities in the office.
How many people exercise regularly?
A poll by Fit Rated found 38% of people surveyed completed a morning workout before work, while 33% exercised during the workday to energise themselves – they have either a lunchtime workout at the gym or go for a brisk walk to have a break from their computer when feeling jaded.
The people who worked out before work found their energy, focus, creativity and productivity at the office had improved. Employees who exercised in the evening after work hadn’t noticed any improvement in their energy levels or productivity during the day.
Of the respondents who didn’t exercise at all during the week, only 48% said they felt “creative” in the office, while just 49% were able to solve problems effectively. In the various categories relating to how they performed at work, people who didn’t exercise scored lower than everybody else.
We’ve compiled five reasons to exercise before going to the office – making the time to work out should be enjoyable, rather than a chore!
1. Improve your health
Not only does a morning workout routine before work improve your physical health, but it can also boost your mental health, making you feel more focused and alert throughout the day.
Beginning the day with 30 minutes’ cardiovascular exercise or strength training is a far better way of energising yourself than a cup of coffee on the way to the office. Break your caffeine addiction and set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier to give yourself enough time!
2. Reduce stress levels
Studies have shown that people who exercise before work suffer less stress and feel happier during the day. Workplace stress is a chronic problem, as it affects the mind and body, leading to depression over time.
Researchers at Bristol University studied 200 people employed in different office jobs, including an IT firm and a pensions company. On the days when they exercised before work, 79% said their mental state had improved. They felt calmer, re-energised and more able to solve problems.
3. Improve performance
People who exercise before work say they can concentrate better, make more complex decisions and give an all-round improved performance. They feel less likely to fall victim to fatigue in the afternoon.
Studies of employees who exercise have found they are 41% more motivated in the office, 22% more likely to finish work on time and 25% more able to work consistently without unscheduled breaks.
4. Realise the benefits of breakfast
Around one-fifth of UK adults skip breakfast, according to a study of 2,000 people. While it can seem easier to rush out of the house without eating, breakfast is known as the “best meal of the day” for good reason.
A survey by Fuel 10K shows people who eat breakfast feel more productive and motivated, compared with those who fill up on coffee and don’t dine until lunchtime. The question is, should you eat breakfast before working out, or after? It’s best to exercise first and then eat breakfast, according to the experts.
5. Create a healthy habit
Taking exercise and eating breakfast before work will create a healthy habit for life. Daily exercise and a healthy diet are important long-term habits that you should start now.
Exercising for just 30 minutes will set you up to tackle the day’s challenges. Even if you can manage only 15 minutes’ exercise to start off with, stick to it every day, laying the groundwork for a lifelong commitment to healthy living by gradually increasing the length of the session.
Gym before work?
Going to the gym before work is down to personal choice. If you don’t have a local gym within easy distance of your home or workplace, it may be difficult to fit in a daily visit. If you work in a flexible workspace, such as a coworking space, it’s easier to coincide your morning exercise around your job.
Being able to start work at 10am, rather than working the traditional 9-5, can make it much easier to exercise before going to the office, especially if you have other activities to fit in, such as the school run, for example.
However, you can work out at home with the same results if you get into the habit of a daily routine. If you have a home gym, with equipment such as a treadmill, cross-trainer and exercise bike, you can achieve the same results as you will at the public gym.
Even if you don’t have any exercise equipment, everyone can do an aerobics-style workout, incorporating repeats of sit-ups, leg-raises and other moves. Put on your favourite music to get you in the mood.
Create a healthy work/life balance
Creating a healthy work/life balance is crucial to aid good physical and mental health. You may feel there’s no way you’ll have time for exercise before work if you have to leave for the daily commute at 8am. Make time! If you have an early meeting at the office, it’s far better to arrive feeling alert following a workout, breakfast and shower, rather than rushing in pumped full of caffeine on an empty stomach.
Another advantage of flexible working is that you can exercise at lunchtime too, organising your day to enable time for a workout and shower. Rather than experiencing the mid-afternoon lull, you can return to your desk raring to go.
Almost 30% of UK employees currently feel they don’t have a good work/life balance, according to research by the Corporate Executive Board. The study reveals 40% of people admit to neglecting their health due to work.
A massive 88% of UK employees have experienced some level of burnout during the past two years, according to a poll by Lum Apps. Of those who have suffered this problem, 80% say the root cause is a poor work/life balance.
According to research, coworking spaces have become optimal workplaces, especially for working parents, to achieve a good work/life balance. It enables employees to find stability in the workplace and scale their social life accordingly.
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