How Does Exercise Increase Productivity? The Secret Productivity Tool of Walking

If you’ve been wondering how exercise increases productivity, you’re in luck!

Last week, a homework assignment I gave to a client included walking while creating her project management maps. She seemed surprised about this assignment – not the project planning, but the walking. This might sound like an odd set of instructions to give during a time management session, but walking is a secret productivity tool.

Studies show that exercise – in particular, walking – stimulates the creativity and problem-solving areas of your brain. I know what you might be thinking: “Study results change all the time.” One year chocolate is good for you; two years later it’s not. Sometimes red wine is good for you; other times it’s not. What’s great about neuroscience studies is that one rarely overturns another. Instead, they tend to add more details or insight to a previous one.

Here’s a round-up of studies that show how exercise increases productivity.

Walking vs Sitting 

“Stanford researchers found that walking boosts creative inspiration. They examined creativity levels of people while they walked versus while they sat. A person’s creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking.” Read more in the Standford News here.

Treadmill Workstations: The Effects of Walking while Working on Physical Activity and Work Performance

This study, which was shared by the National Institutes of Health, found that “treadmill workstations…[have] a significantly favorable impact on both physical activity and work performance.” Read the full study here

Take a Break! Benefits of Sleep and Short Breaks for Daily Work Engagement

This study by an international team found that “taking self-initiated short breaks from work in the afternoon boosted daily work engagement.” Get the details from the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology here.

Effects of Park Walks and Relaxation Exercises During Lunch Breaks on Recovery from Job Stress

This study, which was published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, found that “park walks and relaxation exercises during lunch breaks lower feelings of tension.” If your tension is lower, you’ll be more productive. Just 15 minutes of walking can change your world. Read the study here.

Breaks in Sedentary Time

This study isn’t specific to exercise and productivity, but it is definitely directly related to your health, which affects your productivity. Researchers found that “increased breaks in sedentary time were beneficially associated with waist circumference.” Read this University of Queensland study here.

If you want to browse more walking vs sitting research and how exercise increases productivity, check here.  

If you don’t feel like reading all of the science and research, here’s your short version: walking has tremendous benefits, including lower stress levels, better health, and improved productivity. Exercise increases productivity.

Happy Walking!



About Helene Segura, M.A. Ed., CPO®

As The Inefficiency Assassin™, Time Management Fixer Helene Segura empowers professionals on the go with the tools to slay lost time. Personal inefficiency at work leads to increased stress levels, lower morale, higher absenteeism, more turnover – and rising spending on employee health care and hiring. Why not improve productivity, decrease stress levels, and increase profits instead?The author of four books – two of which were Amazon best-sellers – Helene Segura has been the featured organization expert in more than 200 media interviews. She has coached hundreds of clients to productivity success and performance improvement by applying neuroscience and behavioral modification techniques to wipe out destructive, time-wasting habits.Helene turns time management on its head by sharing both client case studies and pop culture examples to teach her mind-bending framework for decreasing interruptions, distractions and procrastination so that companies can spend more time generating revenue.

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