The working day is a long one that’s crammed with tasks and duties that need to be managed and if you’re going to get through it with your sanity and your professional reputation intact, you need to set yourself up for productivity before attacking the day.
Being productive means more than simply having the skills and knowledge necessary to get the job done. It requires a cool, clear head, a good work-life balance and a daily dose of self-esteem; all of which can be cultivated with a regular morning swim:
Unlike almost every other form of exercise (and certainly more than any kind of commute), swimming isolates you from the world at large. This respite from news, queues, conversation and hassle gives you space to refresh your mind and think.
What you choose to think about while you swim is up to you; focus on your breathing or lap times, plan out the day ahead or give attention to matters outside of work.
By giving your brain time to process thoughts or take a break from them altogether, you make it easier to think clearly and be productive when it really matters. Although this could perhaps be achieved with meditation in the comfort of your pyjamas at home, swimming has specific benefits.
Just a 30-minute swim is enough to trigger biochemical changes in the brain through a process known as hippocampal neurogenesis. These changes include a surge of endorphins, (the hormones responsible for feelings of happiness and well-being) and the replenishment of brain cells that are lost in response to stress, to give you improved brain function and a positive attitude, something we could all benefit from on a Monday!
Productive work-life balance
Whether it’s the passion for your job or the pressures that come with it that dominate your life, you’re vulnerable to excessive amounts of stress and burnout, but it’s possible to maintain your corporate vitality with a good work-life balance.
As already mentioned, swimming is great for healthy and productive brain function, but your body wasn’t designed to just work. It needs rest, exercise and rejuvenation to balance out workplace stress and combat the negative effects of working in a sedentary office role.
Swimming is the only low-impact form of exercise that works the whole body. Aside from the muscular and cardiovascular benefits, it can reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol, limit your chances of developing heart disease, diabetes and stroke and help you get restful, quality sleep.
For employees and business leaders alike, self-belief or esteem in the workplace stems from the combination of a supportive working environment which recognises achievement and the personal knowledge that under pressure, you can get the job done and do it well.
Self-belief fuels productivity but a bad day, a heavy workload or just a critical colleague can all diminish faith in your own abilities. This makes tasks feel more challenging and consequently, your approach to them, unproductive.
By taking a morning swim before work, you can develop a strong sense of personal worth. It isn’t easy to get up earlier than necessary and head to the pool but the feelings of satisfaction it provokes make getting up, out, and into the pool, worth it.
Apart from giving you a real sense of achievement, a regular morning dip will also improve your physique. Swimming is perfect for burning fat, building strength and improving posture and flexibility which can boost your confidence to make you feel like a lean, mean, productive machine.
By Peter Doyle, General Manager, Zoggs UK