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It’s well known that exercise has many benefits for both the body and the mind. It is also well known that a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of heart disease, cancer and can even cause chronic lower respiratory diseases.

Not only is exercise an effective way to blow off steam and stress, it can actually help improve performance at work. The former president of Starbucks, Michelle Gass, would wake up at 4:30 a.m. every morning to run. Richard Branson, who needs no introduction, frequently starts his day with a morning run. If these business giants swear by exercise, shouldn’t we all be listening?

Here’s why all your employees should be getting regular exercise.

Active employees take less absences

In the long term, healthy, active employees generally get sick less often, and thus have to take less sick days. A recent study published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine showed companies that pushed employees to incorporate just 2.5hrs of exercise a week into their lifestyle saw a significant reduction in absences. More importantly, workers who exercise regularly are less prone to preventable, debilitating illnesses that take a heavy toll on family, friends and society.

Exercise can teach self-discipline

Employees that regularly undertake intense exercise are likely to be more self-disciplined in the workplace. Exercise is all about setting goals, pushing through limits and overcoming what you thought was impossible, then doing it again. In that sense, exercise can have many parallels to business, helping to improve self-discipline and also offering skills that will transfer over to the workplace and improve results. If your employees seem uninspired or seem to have hit a plateau, encouraging exercise may help teach them the rewards of reaching a little bit higher in all aspects of their life.

Employers see a measurable increase in productivity

Employees who return from workouts are more refreshed and are better focused on their jobs, to the point where there are measurable increases in performance. While this may not be a hugely surprising theory, there is hard evidence to back the claim up. A study recently presented to the American College of Sports Medicine showed that workers who spent anywhere from 30-60 minutes of their lunch break exercising reported an average performance boost of 15%. Remarkably, a huge 60% of employees felt that their mental performance, time management skills and ability to meet deadlines improved on days they chose to exercise. Employees were also less likely to experience ‘the post-lunch dip’, and also experienced improvements in their mood.

It’s undeniable, employees who exercise are happier and healthier, work harder and work smarter. If you feel like your company could use a boost in overall performance, then help encourage your employees to work out with Fair Care’s employee gym discounts and health scheme, it gives them access to join one of over 3,000 gyms and health clubs at the lowest corporate membership rates.