By Samantha Gluck
Productivity is an important part of a fulfilling and meaningful life. Even if you don’t work outside the home, you still have tasks and responsibilities. But many people struggle with productivity. What can you do to boost energy levels and perform better throughout the day? Exercise!
Research shows that daily exercise has a direct influence on performance by increasing productivity levels up to 20 percent. The best news is that to reap these benefits, you don’t need to spend hours a day at the gym pumping iron or going on long runs.
Take a little time each day to do some simple exercises to kick up your energy levels, boost brain function, and get more done. Try these four basic bodyweight exercises to get started:
Squats strengthen thigh and glute muscles, which makes it much easier to bend down to pick things up — like kids, pets, heavy boxes, or other objects. Get started by standing with your feet a little wider than hip-distance apart, toes pointed slightly out, arm out in front. Squat down, keeping weight in your heels, knees apart. Perform two or three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.
Planks build core strength and stability, working your whole body. Core strength helps those in more sedentary desk jobs or who stand in one place for hours. Planks are a floor exercise, so you’ll need a towel or yoga mat. Lay face-down on the mat, then lift up onto your forearms. Next, lift your hips so that only forearms and toes are touching the mat. Keep your back flat with your head and neck in a neutral position. Drive your elbows into the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat three times.
When done right, push-ups strengthen shoulders, triceps, and elbow joints. If you’re a beginner, it’s best if you do modified push-ups by keeping your knees on the ground. As you push up, keep your back straight and push up to straight elbows. If you don’t keep your back straight, you’ll know because your lower back will hurt. Start with three sets of 5 to 10 push-ups and work up from there.
You probably know that sit-ups strengthen the abdominal muscles, but did you know that a strong abdomen also offers some protection against lower back injury? It’s true! Lay on your mat with a straight back, arms above your head, knees bent. As you sit up, let your arms shoot between your knees. Start with three sets of 15 to 20 sit-ups.