What’s the connection between managing stress and physical activity?
Can exercising improve your career prospects?
April is Stress Awareness Month – this year there is a real focus on physical activity in the workplace and how it can improve productivity, mood and morale.
Do you find that balancing your work and home life is becoming increasingly difficult? If so, you are not alone – The total number of work related stress, depression or anxiety cases in 2014/15 was 440,000 (Health and Safety Executive Report 2014/15).
On Monday I was asked to feature live on BBC Radio Scotland, talking to presenter Gillian Russell about the dangers of stress, how to identify it and what to do about it before it starts damaging our health. We also talked extensively about the role that physical activity at work plays in our happiness and success.
To listen to my interview on BBC Radio Scotland
Do you have the ability to exercise during your working day?
A recent study conducted by Leeds University found that workday exercise improved mood, but most importantly, it improved performance. Employees who took part in physical activity during their lunchtime achieved in 7 hours what they would have otherwise achieved in 8 hours with no physical activity in the working day.
Essentially, the time you invest in your health and wellbeing by exercising during your lunch or in the morning before you start you will gain back through increased productivity and efficiency.
I used to feel guilty about exercising during the day –often sneaking off to the gym for a quick lunchtime workout for fear my team would think I was slacking off. However, I have now realised that I should lead by example – not only do I exercise at lunchtime, I encourage my team to do so as well. In fact we are in the process of moving The Stress Management Society Headquarters to a purpose built premises in West London, and I made sure that showers were on the top of the shopping list so people can cycle to work, or go for a lunchtime run or walk along the beautiful Grand Union canal that flows outside our office.