April 16 2018
The pressure to succeed got the best of me—until I learned to race without fear.
As crazy as it sounds, exercise makes most people feel more energized. I was skeptical to say the least, because I felt like I had no energy to begin with. I was constantly exhausted throughout the workday, struggling to concentrate and needing several coffee breaks no matter how much I slept the night before.
I wanted to feel stronger and get into a better, healthier routine, so I decided to take up running. I was shocked by the difference it made in my workday and in the number of ways in which it affected my health, mood and productivity.
If you’re considering making running part of your routine, don’t hesitate. Below are a few of the things I noticed changing about my mind and body, and the general impact exercise had on my work.
Even though this sounds silly to mention, if you’ve struggled with confidence in the workplace and low self-worth, you know how essential self-esteem is for productivity.
Before I started running regularly, I noticed a trend with my self-esteem and work. I lacked confidence when I felt sluggish and heavy, often due to inactivity and overeating. I didn’t even have a poor diet; I just wasn’t working off my caloric intake.
Running, even just a bit each morning, made the food I was eating seem like fuel and not an escape from my workday. I would show up to work feeling already accomplished, simply because I had worked out and taken care of my physical health before everything else.
Regular exercise gets your heart pumping and your blood moving, which makes an immediate difference in your energy and productivity levels. Lethargy does nothing to promote a healthy circulatory system or cardiovascular system, which are both important components in maintaining sustained energy throughout the day.
Running also seemed to refresh me. The light stretch of my muscles and the sweet post-workout ache I experienced did loads for my motivation. Researchers have found that the endorphins released during exercise have an “addictive” quality and play an important role in motivating you to continue exercising.
We all know that being in a good mood is one of the most essential ingredients in a good workday. I realized that things like self-esteem and my sense of accomplishment had a huge impact on my optimism. If I was feeling good about myself, my goals and my trajectory, I was more likely to enjoy my workday.
Running also significantly improved my mood. I experienced highs from the endorphins I received through exercise and confidence about my physical strength and appearance. Because I was working toward a goal and was slowly accomplishing my wish for a better, healthier routine, I felt good about my trajectory and progress.
The wish to feel well rested and fully energized in the mornings was what sparked my interest in running in the first place. I was so tired at the beginning of my journey that I was willing to try anything to get better sleep—even expending extra energy to run in the morning! Sitting at a desk all day can affect us physically and mentally.
Now, I’ll admit—this result was not immediate. I struggled to figure out my new routine and become religious about sticking to a bedtime. I was sacrificing sleep so that I could run a few days out of the week at first, and realized an earlier bedtime would serve me well. But once I had my sleep schedule down, I realized that I was sleeping better and feeling more awake throughout the day thanks to my regular routines.
Running works your cardiovascular system and makes your resting heart rate lower over time. I found that exercise also lowered my anxiety and made it easier for me to fall asleep.
While certainly a skeptic at first, I had to admit that running offered several mental health benefits after a few weeks. My self-esteem improved and my anxiety lessened. I became so in love with the feeling exercise gave me that I looked for quick exercises I could do at work so that I could experience the rush of energy whenever I was feeling low. I stopped taking as many coffee breaks as I used to.
Making running part of your daily routine is a great idea if you’re experiencing a lack of energy throughout the day. Regular exercise has a huge impact on optimism and motivation, and I would recommend what I did to anyone who wants to feel rejuvenated.