The benefits of exercise in a corporate world

I have seen many CVs since I started working at Covalience, and invariably there is a reference to hobbies or sports activities. During the interview, I ask about it and have come to the conclusion that most company employees in Chandigarh, India(where I live), have given up on trying to be fit. They are too busy now to exercise, they say. Does this lack of fitness influence their work and in which way?

Recently, while we were doing a hard workout, one of our developers came to run with our group for the first time in months. Later at the office, he mentioned how much energy he has and how good he feels. Even though one exercise session could not have improved his overall fitness much, there are some immediate effects like increased energy and reduced anxiety.

It certainly does that for me. Running has made me better at what I do in so many ways. I feel energized, focused, positive, and confident when I am fit.

In one study, the absenteeism data of 884 subjects working in banking, the police force and a chemical company was collected before and after introducing some fitness program. Those who participated to a high degree in the exercise showed a reduction of 4.8 sick days. So, fitness keeps one healthy.

If you work in a high-stress industry like software services as I do, some of these benefits of fitness will make a lot of sense:

You will have fewer illnesses. This is because exercise improves the immune system. It is also proven that exercise reduces the risk of hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes.

You will have more energy. Contrary to popular belief, exercise releases endorphins (which gives you the runner’s high) and improves circulation, which translates into that burst of energy you need.

You may experience various psychological benefits. For example, you will have less stress, which helps handle that problematic client or that piece of code from hell. It improves self-esteem. It could help you build a friend circle outside work which contributes to living a balanced life.

Exercise also teaches us many things like perseverance, self-control, pushing your limits, and overcoming obstacles.

A few years ago, we started a running club for office employees, and I believe we all saw the difference. So take that first step and do something active. Join a soccer team, cycle to work, play tennis, run or walk. Whatever you do will not only benefit your health but will make you better at your work.

Keep running


Stephan is an enthusiastic South-African runner living in India who competes in (and wins) races. He follows his friend, Jesus, is a father of 3, and a CTO