When your schedule is packed, it’s easy to think that ditching the gym will save you time. But in fact, exercising can help you when you’re feeling stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. Our Aaptiv trainers let us in on how exercise can actually boost energy and save you time, starting from your bedtime to the next day.
Better Sleep Quality
It’s quite normal for people to give up sleep to run errands and check tasks off their to-do lists. But getting your beauty sleep will do wonders for your mood and ability to go about your day-to-day duties. Aaptiv trainer and certified holistic health coach Kelly Chase says, “Because exercise promotes a healthier mindset, it reduces [stress] that often results in restless sleep patterns or insomnia. Therefore, exercise improves sleep quality.”
You’ll be in the right headspace to go about your day. So, if you’re usually restless because you’re too worried, working out will help with that. Aaptiv trainer Candice Cunningham explains, “Exercise is proven to increase endorphins and other feel-good hormones that can help combat stress and anxiety.”
“Specifically if you do a very challenging workout, your muscles will be exhausted, causing exhaustion throughout [your body and] improving your sleep,” Chase adds. “You’ll be craving bedtime.”
Increased Energy Level
When you have so much to do, it’s easy to rush from one to-do to the next. But you’ll get tired pretty quickly, and your work quality may suffer. Proper sleep can give you a good start, but you want to maintain that high energy level throughout the day to complete your tasks efficiently.
“Exercise is like immediately giving your body and brain a boost,” says Aaptiv trainer Meghan Takacs. “I have always found it more useful to get a quick 30-minute run done in the morning and be a little set back on work than to try and groggily get through work.”
You’ll also be much more productive after a workout. Nonstop working or studying can make your brain fuzzy. It becomes harder to concentrate, comprehend, and retain information.
This is where exercise comes in. Moving your body increases blood flow to the brain, so you’ll be more alert and able to think sharply while working or studying. Not only that, Chase says, but “the release of endorphins…boosts our mood and our energy levels.” So, you’ll be in a better mental state while doing the hard work.
Using your lunch break to get out and exercise can help you avoid the dreaded afternoon slump. Increased productivity also means you’ll have to spend less time working to get the same result when compared to working efficiently.
“I believe that exercise is directly correlated with an increase in productivity and creativity. Having said that, making time to exercise can have a direct impact on your overall work ethic,” Takacs says. “Yes, you may have a little less time to work. But, what are you working for if you aren’t in a productive mindset? You’ll turn good ideas into great ideas, but only if you are in a good headspace. Exercise helps with this.”
How to Exercise When You’re Short on Time
“Don’t think about just ‘going for a run’ when you don’t have time,” Takacs says. “Maximize a minimal amount of time by increasing the intensity.”
Cunningham recommends multi-planar movements. She explains that they’re great for when you’re short on time and want to get your entire body moving. She suggests “squatting with alternating standing rotations or squats to knee raises.” Grab a jump rope as well—or if you don’t have one, do some jumping jacks. That’ll get your heart rate up quickly.
If you’re at the office, you can easily take a few minutes out of your day to do mini-workouts. Takacs’ favorite workout is “20 push-ups, two sets of 20 seconds’ worth of high knees, and a 60-second plank. You can notice, almost the second you sit down, an immediate sense of lightness in both your body and your mind.”
Exercise and sleep go hand in hand when it comes to increasing energy and productivity levels. Make sure you get enough of both on a regular basis for the best results. Chase says, “The more consistent someone is with training, the more benefits they will receive. If you work out consistently, chances are you will spend less time at the doctor’s office. You will feel better overall, and [you will] build mental confidence.”