A study conducted in Australia found that employees who walked 10,000 steps daily and also worked out in the gym three times a week were more productive on the job. Forty employees at the Melbourne branch of a large software company were given pedometers. One group was tasked with attaining a goal of walking 10,000 steps daily, much more that the average office worker’s average of 2,000 – 3,000. That was the control group. The experimental group also had to meet the 10,000 step walking goal, but also had to do resistance training three times per week. Both groups participated for eight weeks.
A neuropsychological test battery developed by the Swinburne University’s Brain Sciences Institute was used to measure the participants’ ability to plan, remember, simulate future scenarios and make decisions. In addition, researchers also measured alertness, energy levels, anger, and stress.
The results showed a correlation between vigorous physical activity, increased brain function and reduced stress levels at work. A four percent increase in brain function also was found in those who both walked the 10,000 steps and did the resistance training.
In order to compute what the physical and cognitive improvements were worth in terms of money, Harvard University’s Productivity Questionnaire was used, and calculated that each employee in the experimental group (steps plus exercise) had contributed an additional $2500 worth of productivity annually to the company.
The research leader, Paul Taylor, commented that this result confirmed previous findings of increased happiness, productivity, and cognition as a result of vigorous exercise.
The benefits are clear- so what is your company doing to motivate and/or incentivize employees to get enough exercise to reap those benefits? Invite me to speak at your place of business to help leadership and employees understand the lifestyle behaviors that impact brain health and contribute to higher productivity.