3 Ways Exercise Helps Improve Work/Life Balance
Most of us working parents often struggle to maintain a balance between home life and work commitments. We certainly don’t think adding another task into our day will help with creating more of a balance … unless it’s exercise!
Exercise distracts your mind from daily responsibilities. Exercise has been shown to alleviate a work/life imbalance. When you are exercising, you are in a different environment, usually with different people or even just by yourself, and you are focused on the activity you are performing. Whether it is running, taking a yoga class, cycling or just taking a walk on a trail, you are doing something outside of work or home and in a setting that is conducive to recharging your mind and your body. Even if you exercise in your home or at your workplace, the physical activity helps you re-focus your thoughts on something outside of your daily responsibilities.
Exercise activates endorphins. Even just 5-10 minutes of exercise can release your body’s natural mood enhancers (endorphins). When these “good mood chemicals” are activated through physical activity, you are more likely to feel a sense of happiness, mental clarity and improved concentration. These all lead to improved productivity at work and home. Exercise also increases your energy level and endurance, which can make you work more efficiently, taking less time to accomplish your tasks. Often times, it is not necessarily the amount of tasks we have in a day, but the amount of time it takes us to complete the tasks that creates a work/life imbalance. Low energy and impaired concentration can create a longer amount of time to complete tasks than when you have good energy and focus.
Exercise improves your sleep quality. Regular doses of exercise throughout the week (30-60 minutes a day, 3-5 days a week) can improve your sleep. According to a study by the National Sleep Foundation, people who exercise regularly experience better quality and more consistent sleep than those who don’t exercise. The study consisted of 1,000 adults, and results showed that 14 percent of non-exercisers rated their sleep as “very bad,” compared to 3 to 4 percent of exercisers, and nearly twice as many non-exercisers were more likely to feel sleepy during the day. So, when you are more alert and rested, you are also more likely to be more productive and efficient doing your daily tasks at work or at home.
I encourage you to gradually add bouts of exercise into your daily routine, even if it is 10 minutes at a time. It all adds up at the end of the week, and you’ll feel good about yourself when you do something healthy for your body and mind. You will also be more present at home and at work, creating better quality relationships.
Cindy Goulding is a licensed professional counselor as well as a health and wellness coach and certified personal trainer. She is the author of Healthy Weight: It’s a Family Affair. Her website is victoriousmcg.com.