Exercise May Boost Performance on the Job
Study Shows Workers Are More Productive When They Exercise
WebMD News Archive
June 8, 2005 -- Exercise may help you be at the top of your game at
Researchers found that when workers used their company gym, they were more
productive and got along better with their co-workers afterward.
"The results are striking," says Jim McKenna, PhD, MSc, a professor
of sport at Leeds Metropolitan University in England, in a news release.
"We expected to hear more about the downside, such as afternoon fatigue.
But out of 18 themes raised by study participants, 14 were positive. It was
The findings were presented in Nashville, Tenn., at the American College of
Sports Medicine's 52nd Annual Meeting.
Last Item on the Day's to-Do List
McKenna's study included 210 workers who had a plum corporate perk: a
company gym. The workers, most of whom had sedentary jobs, rated their frame of
mind, work performance, and workload on seven-point scales.
The surveys were done right before quitting time. By then, participants had
had their day's share of meetings, duties, and interactions with co-workers.
They took the surveys on days when they had used their company's gym and on
days when they hadn't exercised. That way, they were only competing against
themselves, and any particularly hard or easy days were noted.
Working Out, Courtesy of the Company
Most people took aerobics classes lasting 45-60 minutes; other options
included yoga or stretching classes. The most common workout time was during
the lunch hour, American College of Sports Medicine spokesman Dan Henkel tells
Ratings for mental-interpersonal performance and the ability to manage time
and output demands were consistently and significantly higher on exercise
At least 65% of the workers improved in all three areas on exercise days.
The differences were "small, but consistently positive," say the
Win-Win Job Benefit
Companies and employees both stand to benefit from at-work gyms, says
McKenna, a former physical education teacher who's also served as a fitness
advisor for several British rugby teams. "Companies see more productive
employees who also work better together," he says.
"From the public health side, health care costs can be expected to go
down for employees who regularly exercise at work. Think of it: fewer sick
days, better attendance, and more tolerant co-worker relations."