Now that NYC is in Stage 4 of reopening, last week we rented a beach house in Montauk for a few days with my cousin and her family. This meant we had access to a private beach and NO running into any crowds or worrying about our safety. One of my favorite parts about this trip: movement. I am a big fan of an active lifestyle, and have been since I was a little girl. In fact, I get annoyed if I miss an exercise session. I love to infuse my workouts with play so exercising feels like fun. Working out teaches me to appreciate my body. It helps keep me focused, grounded, and less fatigued. It ensures that I compartmentalize my professional and personal roles seamlessly. Did I tell you that movement hugely impacts my writing? It helps me stay alive and alert. Exercising impacts my mood, productivity, and overall energy levels.
Thanks to remote working options while we were visiting Montauk, I worked through the day but spent all evening in the water. We did everything from swimming to kayaking, paddle boating, canoeing, biking, and walking on the sand…We spent hours in the Atlantic Ocean, getting the endorphins going. Practicing yoga on the sundeck was such a unique gift.
The majority of people know that exercise can improve your health and help manage weight. But, did you know that living the fitness lifestyle will improve your brain power and make you a more productive person? It can help you overcome stress and pull you out of difficult phases.
Every morning when I logged into my day job at Montauk, I felt fresher, motivated, and rejuvenated. Living in an NYC apartment during the pandemic had started to feel claustrophobic. Being close to nature, getting in nature walks, and hearing the waves crash against the rocks was purely magical. My stress levels were lower, and my head felt clearer. I offered to sign on for more projects at work. I found myself pitching new essays and ideas to magazines and confirming content and interview schedules for upcoming speaking engagements.
When you exercise, your body releases several different chemicals in your brain, collectively known as neurotransmitters. A neurotransmitter like endorphin improves your ability to prioritize tasks; in other words, it helps stay focused rather than procrastinate. An article in Live Strong tells us, “One way that exercise can help boost productivity at work is through alertness. When you exercise, you are also increasing blood flow to the brain, which can help sharpen your awareness and make you more ready to tackle your next big project.”
I asked three women who lead an active life if there was any correlation between their workouts and productivity. When did they start to exercise and if that impacted the quality of their life?
Smriti Jha is a veterinarian and a fellow nature and fitness lover with a pleasant yet strong demeanor. She told me, “I started working out around 5 years back…and I must admit it has been life-changing for me. Working out for me is not just about being healthy and fit alone. It makes me happier and makes me feel good about myself, which in turn makes me more productive at work. I prefer to work out in the morning so that the adrenaline is working when I am at work in the clinic, too.”
I appreciated productivity consultant, speaker, and author Lisa Montanaro’s candid message, “I’ve always been an active person and genuinely love moving my body! From a young age, I was a dancer, then added on swimmer, runner, cyclist, hiker, and yoga enthusiast as the years grew. Exercise is key to keeping me healthy, focused, and productive. Yes, it takes a lot of time and effort, but it is always worth it. I sleep better, am more mentally alert, and have the energy and fitness to engage in all of my personal and professional activities. Exercise gets booked on my calendar, and then I honor that appointment with myself. I try to teach my clients that to be healthy and fit in exercise, you need to actually be a good time manager. And of course, find activities that move your body in a way that’s enjoyable!”
Smita Baliga, a consultant and mother of two, said, “I am a CPA, a mom and an entrepreneur. Exercising means a lot to me, although there are days when it can feel like a chore. Over the years, regular exercising has helped me overcome stress, boost my energy levels, and improve my mood on hectic days. Running or jogging for at least 45 minutes every day, and two strength sessions every week, is a coping mechanism that helps me stay positive and motivated at work. Getting enough exercise has also helped me maintain healthy eating habits, and I am happy that my six year-old is already following in my footsteps.”
The evidence is compelling that exercising can transform your life and improve your productivity. It’s never too late to start. So, stop looking for excuses, speak with your doctor, find a group of like-minded peers, and start working out today!