Work can be a major stressor.
A Forbes article on workplace stress reports that employee stress levels worldwide have risen by 20% in the last three decades.
Some 76% of employees surveyed report that workplace stress has adversely affected their relationships, while 66% say they have lost sleep. Another 16% admit to quitting altogether.
It may be impossible to eliminate, but it is important to reduce workplace stress in any way we can. In a previous post, 10 Ways to Help Reduce Your Stress Levels and Relieve Anxiety at Work, we looked at how factoring in ‘me-time’, and connecting with new people are good ways to calm the mind and body.
But really, exercise should be top of the list – it releases endorphins, which are feel-good hormones, and takes your mind out of the day to day stressors.
Finding the time to balance daily exercise with childcare pick-up and overtime can be a headache, which is why scheduling a run into your working week can help to keep it on track. Add it to your calendar, plan it around meetings. Running to work for example means exercise done before you set foot in the office door, plus you kick off the day with a spring in your step.
Why run to work?
Not only does running help you improve your mood and reduce stress, but Business Insider notes that running can also be transformational, as it can change your body and brain in a positive way. This is because it can alter the brain in the way that it fights both cognitive declines and neurodegenerative disorders.
Not to mention running can also enhance your cardiovascular health, along with improving sleep and the ability to concentrate. And of course, running burns plenty of calories, which means better weight management or maintenance, and better overall fitness.
Start running now
If you want to start running to work, consider these pointers first:
1. Start slow.
Unless you’re already a runner, start by taking take baby steps. Walk to your workplace every day. Then work your way up to jogging, and eventually, running.
2. Leave your stuff at the office.
It’s hard to run with a heavy bag, so just leave your heavy stuff — laptop, work shoes, etc. — at the office.
3. Map out your route.
Once you’ve built up strength, mapping your route pre-run will allow you to vary your routes, so you can keep challenging yourself and perhaps even discover new places.
4. Learn to turn up the pace.
Eventually, you’ll be able to speed up your running pace and set yourself new challenges. Apps like Nurvv can provide helpful tips like outlining that to speed up your pace, you should maintain a higher cadence (number of steps taken per minute) and increase the length of your steps.
This can be done through specific running drills and strength and conditioning exercises. Once you’ve got this down, you’ll be able to run faster and for longer without feeling high levels of fatigue.
5. Stay hydrated.
Advice for how much you should be drinking is roughly 400-500ml of water at least two hours before running. Of course, bringing water along for your run is also important, as it keeps you from being dehydrated. Dehydration can also cause a low sweat rate, which could negatively affect the body as it tries to cool down.
It might take some time before you get fully settled into your new pre-work routine. But give it time. You’ll get the hang of it soon enough and the benefits will outweigh those first few weeks of pain! Good luck.