Healthy Living

How to work less and be more productive

Work less, get more done. Sounds great!

Don’t believe it? Well, give it a shot.

Several studies suggest that exercising at least 30 minutes during your workday makes you more productive.

On top of that, you’re taking care of your health. Turns out 30 minutes, five days a week, equates to how much exercise the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends to keep your heart and lungs happy.

If your company offers fitness or yoga classes, take them! You’d normally pay for that training, so passing it up is like giving away cash. Of course, it’s generally a good idea to consult a doctor before you start a new exercise program, to be sure you don’t have any contraindications.

Alternatively, if you can get away, take a class somewhere else. The change of scenery will do you good.

There’s also a universal option that’s simple and won’t require workout wear: going for a walk.

One study, published last year, showed participants felt more enthusiastic and in control after 30-minute walks during their lunch hour.

It’s good to know that the CDC recommends 150 minutes a week of moderately intense aerobic activity. That means you can hold a conversation while exercising. Of course, you’re always welcome to do more intense exercise (75 minutes a week, in that case, the CDC recommends). Some study participants took on vigorous activities.

If you go for a walk, you can do it alone (to soothe the chatty mind) or with someone else (to connect). Also, if you pay attention to your breath and gait, you’ll increase your focus.

Ultimately, pick an activity you’ll enjoy, and do it when it makes sense for you.

“You may find mornings are best for your schedule, or maybe it is that mid-afternoon time that physical activity will really jump start the rest of your day,” says benefits consultant Michael Booth, who has a degree in exercise physiology.

“Not only do you then get the benefit of physical activity, but you will probably be more productive at work – or home – the remainder of the day.”


Journalist Mitra Malek writes about wellness, fitness and innovation. She has taught yoga regularly since 2006 and was a senior editor for Yoga Journal magazine. Learn more at

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