October 28, 2013

BETTER LIVING: How Exercise Promotes Work Ethic

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By JESSICA SOLOMON

Research shows that daily exercise, even light to moderate activity, will increase your efficiency and productivity. Face it: it’s college. We are the busiest people around. Between studying for exams, writing papers, keeping up with our social scene and attempting to get enough sleep, we hardly have a minute to ourselves! However, exercise can work wonders on our bodies and our brains, so read below to find out the five benefits of sweating the stress away!

1. Increase in energy: Most of our cells contain a “powerhouse,” called the mitochondria. Mitochondria produce the chemical that our bodies use as energy, known as ATP. Physical exercise fuels this process of creating ATP, energizing the brain and enhancing mental output. So commit to that morning workout – you will feel refreshed and awake all day long!

2. Increases happiness: Exercise naturally releases endorphins, our body’s personal mood-sparker. Some studies show that your mood directly affects your level of productivity. This means the happier you are, the more you will enjoy what you are doing, and thus the better your final product will be!

3. Tolerance in groups: Exercise makes you more tolerant and willing to cooperate. Because you already have physically exerted yourself (or mildly so), you will naturally be more patient and less stressed. This feeling of satisfaction leads to accomplishment in the workforce.

4. Brain sharpness: With a little movement, blood flow increases to all parts of our bodies, especially the brain. Exercise supports mental sharpness (and memory!), improves alertness and does wonders for time management. Not only does exercise force you to get into a healthy routine, but the endorphins released from it help you concentrate and prioritize after a workout. Instead of browsing Facebook and online shopping, head to the gym for half an hour – you’ll return unbelievably focused, clearheaded and full of new ideas.

5. Increased sociability – Like I said before, we all have a million things going on every day, and it can be challenging to get in the friend time you’re craving. So, why not plan on meeting up at the gym? Or take a yoga class together? This will give you a chance to de-stress socially, put away the work-worries and have fun with one of your buddies! Research shows that exercising with others releases pain-suppressing (and therefore happiness-inducing) chemicals in the brain. So be that motivating friend – you won’t regret it!

I know you may be thinking, “That hour I spend at the gym could be an hour more of studying!” But realistically, I’m not suggesting a three-mile run at 8 a.m. Even moderate activity, whether it be walking instead of taking the TCAT, trying out a spin class or catching up with a friend at the gym, will shock you with its benefits. Not only will you physically look and feel better, but also have the energy to bang out a night’s worth of work without those late night coffees! Being productive and active only makes us want to be more successful (not a bad cycle!).

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