When it comes to the health and wellness of our employees, it is no secret that incorporating daily exercise and fitness routines into your corporate wellness plan can mean significant results for both your employee’s health and your company’s health care costs. For instance, employees who exercise regularly have not only been shown to increase their productivity and attention in the work place, but daily fitness also lowers your employee’s average sick days per year and promotes lower health costs for everyone involved.
While mental health cannot be as easily measured as your blood pressure levels or your cholesterol, it is just as significant―if not more so―to work place productivity, especially when you consider the many costs that are associated with poor mental and emotional health.
For example, research shows that people with symptoms of depression have a greater increase in time lost from work, and also have higher rates of productivity loss, absenteeism and job abandonment.
Luckily, there is a growing body of work that shows that one of the best ways to combat poor mental and emotional health is through daily exercise programs, such as the ones offered by Walkingspree. In fact, researchers at Duke University studied people suffering from depression for four months and found that 60% of the participants who exercised for just 30 minutes three times a week overcame their depression without using any antidepressant medication.
However, you do not have to be suffering from depression or a clinical mental illness to get substantial mental health benefits from exercise and fitness. Another study found that short workouts of eight minutes in length could help to lower sadness, tension and anger, along with improving resistance to disease in healthy people. Exercising also helps to boost employee’s confidence, along with reducing anxiety and stress, all of which contribute to psychological health and well-being.
One of the reasons why exercise and fitness can have such a large impact on the mental health of your employees is because of overwhelming feelings of well-being that are generated during and after exercise, thanks to the body’s natural release of endorphins. These “feel good” chemicals are released by our brain during exercise and lead to an increase in energy and to better sleeping patterns.
Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it’s actually been proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming depression. In one research study, three groups of patients treated their depression with either medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. All three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels to begin with but what happened over time was drastically different.
Six months later, the groups were tested again to determine their relapse rate.
Medication alone: 38% had slipped back into depression
Combination of exercise and medication: 31% had slipped back into depression
Exercise alone: Only 9% relapse!
You don’t have to be depressed to gain benefit from exercise, though. It can help you to relax, increase your brain power and improve your health.