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Melt Your Job Stress Away Through Exercise

I've written before about the many ways you can relieve work-related stress right at your own desk. A British study suggests a slightly different approach to spur productivity and better job-related physical and mental health: A 30-60-minute break at lunch for exercise.

Researchers surveyed some 200 professionals in three different places -- a computer company, life insurance agency and university -- about their job performance and their moods in relation to days they exercised -- and didn't -- at work. Patients could participate in any kind of physical activity, ranging from yoga to basketball and strength training. Researchers were surprised by the results (although I wasn't):

  • About 60 percent of the participants reported their mental skills and ability to meet deadlines improved on days they exercised.
  • The beneficial effect on mood and performance persisted no matter how long they exercised or what they did (not surprising since it's a very healthy way to treat depression).
  • Exercisers experienced far better moods, were far less likely to suffer from the typical post-lunch fatigue and felt more satisfied going home at the end of their workday.

(Interestingly, Congress is considering a bill that provides tax incentives to companies that offer to compensate employees for their monthly health club fees.)

That's in addition to all of the other benefits I've written about, including losing weight, improving your ability to sleep and lessening your pain.

MSNBC June 14, 2005

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