CERN Accelerating science

Benefits of Sport

We are nearing the end of January so it’s a good time to take stock of the New Year’s resolutions we made back at the beginning of 2019 and evaluate if we have managed to stick to them. It’s quite common, after all the feasting over the Christmas holidays that we make the worthy resolution to take more exercise in the new year, as not only does regular exercise reduce one’s waistline, (which might have expanded over the most recent holidays) but it also has the benefit of making you feel better, look better and work better.

Unlike sleeping, exercise isn’t necessarily something which is going to happen to us every day, so it is important to actively fit it in to one’s daily schedule and this is something lots of us find rather challenging, however it is becoming increasingly clear that we need to incorporate physical activity into our daily lives. Researchers conducting a 2008 study in the UK [https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/17538350810926534] found that that more than 200 employees who had access to and used a company gym were more productive during the day, and went home feeling more satisfied on the days they exercised during regular work hours. In 2013, another study [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23795769] showed that regardless of age, people experience “immediate benefits” for cognition following “a single bout of moderate exercise”, such as 15 minutes of moderately intense cycling on a stationary bike. These findings suggest that working out during the day could be even better than bookending gym time before or after the office. On top of this, regular physical activity will also improve both your mental and physical health and cut soaring health costs due to illnesses and conditions linked to a sedentary lifestyle and obesity.

We are all aware of the benefits of leading an active life on our own health, and we also know that exercising improves our work performance and reduces the number of sick days we take, but how can we take steps to become more active?

The daily recommended average number of steps an adult should take per day is 10 000! Bearing this in mind and if you struggle to lead an active lifestyle, why not begin by making small changes? Banish the lift from your daily routine and always opt for the stairs! Why not park your car a little further from your office to pack in some extra steps and how about taking a stroll over lunchtime (there are some beautiful walks in the vineyards which are accessible via entrance C). You could even propose a ‘walking meeting’ with your colleagues and talk as you walk. You might find that outside the confines of the four walls of your office, the fresh air and change of scenery is invigorating and helps you find creative solutions. Once you have taken the plunge to lead a more active lifestyle it’s important to stick to your plan; make sure you schedule all of your exercise time in your agenda and don’t find excuses not to do your activity. The best way to stick to a regular routine is to find an activity you enjoy and which you can do with a friend who will be able to motivate you when you’re feeling a little lethargic, and vice-versa!

CERN Clubs, which are under the aegis of the Staff Association, can help you in your quest to lead a more active life. With just under 50 clubs, many of which offer sports activities, there is something for everyone, whether it’s taking part in a photo walk with the CERN Photo Club, learning Golf, navigating the local waterways with the Canoe/Kayak Club or the Yachting club, tangoing with the Dancing Club, jogging with the Running Club, skiing, cycling, orienteering, remaining zen with the yoga club or lifting, stretching or burning calories with the fitness club, there is something for everyone. In addition, thanks to the support from CERN Administration and the Staff Association, there has been an improvement in infrastructure provided to CERN Clubs. One of the barriers which existed in the past preventing people from exercising whilst at work which has now been overcome, is the availability of renovated showering facilities available on the CERN Sites. People wanting to run/cycle/work out at CERN now have several areas where they can take showers. The Fitness Club is investing in increasing the gym area available for people wishing to exercise at CERN as well as organising varied fitness classes to cater for all tastes, ranging from High Intensity Interval Training to zumba workouts, where you can burn up to 500 calories per class, without even realising you are doing sport!

Sign up and experience the sense of achievement you feel when you stick to a regular routine and notice the positive impact regular sport has on your health, humour, and body (http://staff-association.web.cern.ch/clubs).

So how are your 2019 resolutions going? Are you going to take the plunge and make 2019 the year where you start becoming more active, or are you going to try and learn a new sport or reach a personal best? Whatever your challenge, keep it up and you will reap the benefits of feeling, looking and working better.

 

Feel well, work well !