When I learned that exercise boosts mood and decreases depression on top of all the other health benefits, I made a vow to not let three days in a row go by without some physical activity in my life. In fact, this was the very first change I made to my life after learning about the science of happiness.
Physical activity can boost health and happiness by, for example, increasing your body’s production of high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) and endorphins (chemicals that increase euphoria). Running may even slow the aging process.
We all know what that 2:45 PM feeling is like – you’re dragging through the afternoon, nearly dozing off at your work station. One way to get your energy and mood back up is to get moving!
I’d like to share with you some tips for getting active during work, during your break times, and even in your leisure time.
During your work day you can try out one of the three tips below or create your own ways to stay awake, alert, and active:
- Be Outstanding – Work while standing up. Even better, work at a treadmill desk if you have the option.
- Get on the Ball – Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair for part or all of your working day. (You may need to work up to this. It’s a workout!)
- Take the Stairs – Avoid elevators. Take the stairs if you are able.
During your commute or break time, you can try one of these transition time, happiness, and energy boosting activities:
- Walk to work – If you live close enough, try walking, biking, or even running to work. If you commute via car, try parking a farther distance away and enjoy a short walk into the office. If you commute on the bus, get off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way. Not only will you get more exercise, but you will improve satisfaction with what is often typically a very unhappy time.
- Midday Workout – Take an exercise break at lunch. Try a yoga class or find another fun class you are interested in.
- Gym at Work – Working out is easier to make happen when it can be at work. If you don’t have access to gym at work or right nearby, try bringing a pair of hand weights in and leaving them at your desk so you can get bits of exercise while on a phone call, for example. (Just don’t work out so hard that you are breathing hard into the phone. That might not go over so well!)
And away from work, exercising outdoors with a friend in good weather is–according to science–an especially good combination of factors that are likely to improve your mood. Perhaps it’s time to reach out to a friend to schedule a ski or a hike this weekend.
How do you work out at work? How does it work for you?