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As an initiative to maintain a healthy work-life balance, we were made to try Zumba out for one day after our office and see how we feel. While dance was not something that struck a chord with everyone, there were a few of us that stayed back to finish the class.
Even though most of us were in office clothes and were sweaty, red and breathless after the class, all of us felt a certain level of satisfaction and a sense of team belonging after we were done.
This made us delve deeper into our relationships with the physical workouts that we did individually and we found out that most of us didn’t do workouts just to maintain physical fitness, but to help us maintain a certain level of mental peace as well.
Out of a team of seven people, we found out that almost all of us had different workout routines(if at all) and our own reasons why we stuck to that workout. While some stuck to gymming and weights; some explored running and jogging; some revelled in yoga and meditation. And here’s how they helped us:-
One of the first things that one, who starts doing a workout regularly, feel is the increased amount of attentiveness in their work routines. After the initial days of struggles of muscular cramps, one is energized more and feels less sleepy throughout the day. According to the nutritionist Kirsi Bhasin, this happens because regular exercise allows more oxygen and blood circulation to your brain and the rest of the body, which not only makes you more attentive but also results in increased functioning throughout your body and heightened energy production.
Increased Capacity to Think and Create:
“To give up running would be like giving up writing, which would be like giving up living.” This is what Haruki Murakami, one of the most established authors of the 21st Century, said in his memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Be it a complex code or an 800-word article, thinking your way creatively to complete your task, is one of your biggest weapons to succeed in your career. Many studies have suggested that the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory (the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex) have greater volume in people who exercise versus people who don’t. Thus, it is now proven that exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills!
Lesser Mood Swings:
What is one of the greatest feeling to take back home after work? Satisfaction. When you complete a workout, you feel a sense of rush which is a mix of both excursion and happiness of completing a task. No matter how bad a day at work you’re gonna have in terms of productivity, there is always something which can immediately elevate your mood. Thus, your feelings stay in balance throughout the day and so does your communication and cohesion with the rest of the team members (even when they’re giving you a tough time!)
According to one of our team members, “I have actually experienced a change in my daily productivity. I am calmer and more energized. If I don’t meditate for a few days I can feel mood swings and over-burdened, which I was wasn’t really aware of earlier and can feel the difference after meditating daily.”
Better Time Management:
The motivation behind working out consistently is the sense of achieving a bigger goal; be it in terms of reducing a certain amount of weight, gaining one more ab, or simply running a mile more in the same time. This goal-directed thinking makes us more disciplined in the work we are doing and gives us a greater understanding of how we can manage more work in a given set of time.
Motivation to Eat Healthily:
Once, you start working out, you start connecting your feelings to your physical body and start realising what works for your body and what doesn’t. It gives you a greater respect for your physical self, and thus, makes you conscious of how you are treating it with the kind of food you take. Not only workout convinces you to eat healthier, but it also makes you realise the feeling of accomplishment in keeping yourself clean of all sorts of junk.
So, how much exercise is usually required to maintain a healthy work life?
According to Harvard Health, standard recommendations advise half an hour of moderate physical activity most days of the week, or 150 minutes a week. If that seems daunting, start with a few minutes a day, and increase the amount you exercise by five or 10 minutes every week until you reach your goal.
And if you don’t have the discipline to do it on your own? Try any or all of these ideas:
- Join a class or work out with a friend who’ll hold you accountable.
- Track your progress, which encourages you to reach a goal.
- If you’re able, hire a personal trainer. (Paying an expert is good motivation.)
“I just wished I looked as good as I felt and I started doing heavy weightlifting. Whatever it is, you find that thing that makes you mentally feel better. And the moment I started to feel mentally good, I started to feel physically amazing!”
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