You must have heard many people telling you how regular exercising can help boost your career, and how much scientific researches have been put in place to support that. In fact, Prof Scott B. Martin of Sports & Exercise Psychology at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, claims that “regular exercise and physical activity, especially aerobic exercise, improves the speed, efficiency, and accuracy of cognitive functioning by improving attentional focus and concentration”.
So how does the lack of exercise affect your career?
1. It may kill you
According to a recent study researched by the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge, people in a sedentary lifestyle may be twice as deadly as being obese. The good news is that simple activities like a brisk 20-minute walk each day, for example, is enough to reduce the risk of an early death by as much as 30 percent.
2. You have a higher risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, the risk of obesity, back pain, and osteoporosis
Most of us don’t even realise that we spend the whole day sitting and almost not moving at all. We sit at work, in the car and again at home over dinner and in front of the TV or at our favourite cafe or bar with friends. You can easily imagine how much “stress” you are loading on your lower back; the longer you sit, the more you increase the risk of many diseases highlighted above.
3. You will get a weaker heart
Our heart is a muscle which weakens without regular exercises. And when you suddenly need to move quickly, your heart can't handle the sudden change in heart rate which sometimes results in tragedy. Meanwhile, the lungs become inefficient at absorbing oxygen, leaving you out-of-breath and panting from walking just a few stairs. And your blood pressure rises, with stiffening of the blood vessels as a result. This, in turn, encourages plaque build-up, which sets the stage for strokes and other potential disasters.
4. Weaker bones
A frequently exercised joint is flexible, while an unused one is weaker, less elastic, and more prone to nasty tears. Muscle shortening, which goes hand in hand with this, can worsen the problem by creating involuntary imbalances in the body that cause injuries over time. As for the bones, elderlies are also more susceptible to bone brittleness.
5. Lower self-esteem
Another study showed people who sit for long periods, don't exercise, have lower self-esteem (and a higher rate of depression occurrence) than those who are physically active. It is also worth mentioning exercise releases endorphins, the body's own "happy drug," which has made exercise one of the cornerstones in today's professional treatment of depression.
There's little doubt that exercise is good for the body and mind. With a healthy body and a healthier mind, you will perform better in your job and make a greater and more positive impact on your career. If you have momentarily slipped into a sedentary lifestyle, it's not too late to make a change. Consult a personal trainer for advice on providing a customised program for you; start slow, and work your way slowly toward better health and a more progressive career.