Too busy with work or study to make time for the gym? Think again. Regular exercise can help you get ahead in your career, writes Helen Jomoa.

Here’s why you should diarise that next workout like you would your next meeting.

Improves self confidence

Confident people are more likely to be promoted than unconfident ones. Setting and achieving fitness goals builds confidence both physically and mentally. It has been shown that people who exercise regularly feel more attractive than those who do not exercise – regardless of weight, age and gender.

Makes you smarter

Exercise makes you feel alert; more focused and better able to complete the task at hand. It helps stimulate your brain with oxygen and nutrients to improve cognitive functioning (the brains ability to process information). Incidentally this functioning declines with age! However, regular exercise can actually slow this down, allowing you to stay sharp as a tack as your career, and age, progress.

Increases creativity

Going for a walk was often thought to help with writers block. Now some researchers think that, “physical exercise trains your brain to become more flexible in finding creative solutions.” Creativity is how to look at problems in new ways and come up with different solutions. Creative thinking is another way to demonstrate that you are ready for a promotion and can think outside the box.

Improves your productivity

Employers always like to get more ‘bang for their buck,’ so improving your productivity is going to go down well when you are going for that new job. Research has shown that people who do regular exercise are more productive than their sedentary peers.

Reduces stress and anxiety

Exercise increases endorphins, the hormones that make us feel happy, and helps regulate stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Repetitive exercise, such as running, can also be meditative which helps us think through problems literally ‘on the run,’ while sports such as tennis require us to think on our feet and force us to take a mental break. Both approaches can help us think more clearly in stressful situations like an interview or important meeting.

Your body can stimulate your mind and help you reach both your training and your career goals. Making exercise part of your day will help make you fit for promotion so you are ready to take the next step up.