Active employees in sedentary jobs generally get more blood flowing through the old gray matter than those who don’t exercise. With the extra oxygen provided by their active lifestyle, these workers tend to be more productive and get more satisfaction from their work.
This notion has been around for a while, of course.
Lately, some folks have been trying to hone in on how to optimize this phenomenon. For example, researchers at the University of Minnesota studied workers at a Minneapolis company who use treadmills while working, and found they become more productive as they mastered walking and working simultaneously.
Now, Virgin Pulse has pinned down more precisely how much exercise translates into higher productivity.
The company, owned by the same group that operates Virgin Air but run as an autonomous wellness and engagement consultant, set out to explode four myths about exercise and brainpower on the job.
Myth No. 1: Employees don’t need exercise in order for their brains to work well
Fact: A 10- to 40-minute burst of exercise leads to an immediate boost in concentration and mental focus.
Fact: As little as 12 weeks of exercise can double the amount of blood going to the regions of your brain responsible for cognitive functions.
Conclusion: If you want fully capable employees at work, having a healthy, active body leads to a healthy, active mind.
Photo: Courtesy of Staffing Resource Group, Tampa, Fla.
Myth No. 2: Exercise only has a short-term impact on the brain
Fact: Students in the top 5 percent of fitness rankings scored 36 percentile points higher than those in the bottom 5 percent of fitness rankings.
Fact: In a quarter-century study of 1.2 million men, researchers found a correlation between their fitness in their teen years to cognitive abilities later in life.
Conclusion: Company-wide fitness initiatives aren’t just for short-term, health-driven cost savings, but for long-term boosts in productivity and health that last for decades.
Myth No. 3: Employees should stay at their desks to be productive
Fact: Employees who exercise during the workday are 23 percent more productive on those days than on days when they don’t exercise during the workday.
Fact: Walking on a treadmill for 20 minutes can reduce employee anxiety, and the effect lasts for several hours.
Fact: Riding a stationary bike at moderate intensity for 20 minutes had an immediate, positive impact on mood that lasted up to 12 hours.
Conclusion: Encouraging fitness in the workday can lead to better performance and brainpower all day long.
Myth No. 4: Exercise doesn’t impact earning potential
Fact: Regular exercise can lead to a 6 percent to 10 percent wage increase.
Fact: Health habits drives leaders. 85 percent of CEOs included exercise in their daily routines.
Fact: Although moderate exercise has a positive impact on earnings, frequent exercise can double the increase.
Conclusion: Offering employees ways to get in shape not only benefits them intellectually and increases their productivity, but it can mean more money in the paychecks as well.