How Working Out Helps at Work

Working out can be a great stress reliever.
Brandon Scott, a U.S. contractor responsible for moving mine resistant ambush protected vehicles to troops on Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, works 13-hour days, seven days a week. (Spc. Monte Swift/203rd Public Affairs Detachment)

Need an edge to land that big promotion at work? Are you nervous about an upcoming presentation? There is a secret that most successful CEOs share. They work out -- almost every day.

Staying in shape and eating right makes you work more efficiently and productively. What's more, working out on a regular basis leads you to make better eating choices. For example, you're more likely to have a healthy salad than eat yourself into a carb coma at lunch when you have a regular fitness routine.

Your stress level also will be reduced if you hop on the Stairmaster. Fitness improves oxygen delivery to organs, heightens circulation and cuts back on doctor visits and sick days.

Regular exercise and proper diet can improve your performance at work in many ways. Here's how:

7 a.m.: Do you find yourself constantly running late? Do you rush to catch the subway or rush to get to work on time? If you exercise regularly, you won't be sweaty, stressed and/or too winded to say hello to the people with whom you do business.

9 a.m.: Early morning presentation? If you're used to that 6 a.m. spin class, this speech will be a breeze to get through, with less hills to climb.

Noon: People who walk around town or the park during lunch feel less ragged and overworked. Some of the best work ideas have come to me while running around the reservoir track in Central Park.

3 p.m.: Big meeting at the end of the day but feeling the 3 p.m. slump? If you're not fit, coffee may be the only thing that gets you through the day, still half in a fog. But instead of dehydrating on caffeine, a lunchtime walk has you more focused and gives you time to think quietly and plan your talking points. If you're a stay-at-home mom or dad, you won't feel sluggish and wish for a 3 p.m. nap lust if you're used to pumping iron at 5 p.m.

6 p.m.: At the end of the day, your back muscles may be tight, and you may have a headache.  If you can't work out in the morning, try taking a class at the gym or exercising after work. It may help those muscles loosen up.

11 p.m.: Are the stressors of the day keeping you up at night? If you jogged during the day, you'll be sleepy with a clear mind and better rested when you awake to tackle your tasks. More exercise = better sleep = better work day.

Nikki Fitness is a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, writer and publicist living in New York City.

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