It is no secret that happy employees are productive employees and this in turn plays a role in driving organisational performance. One key aspect of promoting employee wellbeing that is often undervalued is exercise. Extensive research highlights the powerful link between exercise and performance, demonstrating how physical activity can enhance employee wellbeing, productivity, and engagement. By highlighting these benefits, employees can optimise their performance not only at work, but also at home.  

Exercise and Cognitive Function 

Research conducted by the department of neurosurgery at UCLA found that regular physical activity positively impacts cognitive function, including memory, attention, and decision-making. Engaging in moderate-intensity activities, such as brisk walking or cycling, increases blood flow to the brain, enhancing cognitive performance. To encourage physical activity among employees: 

  • Promote walking meetings or active breaks to incorporate movement throughout the workday. 
  • Organise lunchtime fitness classes or provide access to nearby fitness facilities. 
  • Consider implementing wearable devices or step challenges to motivate employees to increase their daily activity levels. 

Exercise and Stress 

Work-related stress is a prevalent issue, with 47% of employees experiencing stress throughout most of their day. Research from Beyond Blue, reveals that physical activity is an effective stress reduction strategy. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which improves mood and reduces stress levels. To support employees in managing stress using exercise: 

  • Encourage regular breaks where dynamic movement is involved, such as desk stretching. Click here for some tips on desk stretches 
  • Organise group fitness activities or workplace wellness challenges to foster a supportive community. 
  • Offer flexible work arrangements that allow for exercise during the day, such as flexible start and finish times. 

Exercise and Energy Levels 

Sustained energy throughout the workday is crucial for optimal performance. Research conducted by the University of New South Wales demonstrates that regular exercise significantly boosts energy levels and reduces fatigue. Additionally, exercise has a positive influence on sleep quality. Engaging in physical activity during the day can help regulate the sleep-wake cycle, promoting deeper and more restorative sleep at night. This, in turn, leads to improved energy restoration and a refreshed state upon waking. To promote exercise as an energy-boosting strategy: 

Exercise and Team Building 

Physical activity can also serve as an effective tool for team building and fostering positive relationships amongst employees. To leverage exercise for team building: 

  • Organise team sports events or friendly competitions that encourage camaraderie and collaboration. 
  • Promote workplace wellness challenges that involve group activities or encourage employees to exercise together. 
  • Sponsor participation in local charity walks, runs, or cycling events as a team-building activity. 

But How Much Exercise Should We Be Doing? 

While we would all love to have an unlimited amount of time to dedicate to working out in the gym, working towards our goals or going for long leisurely walks, this is not the case for most people. The trick is to maximise your time – at Better Being, we use the Movement Pyramid to plan our exercise: 


Do something 1-2 days a week which you can engage with other people. This involves doing things like exercising with a friend, playing a team sport, or going for a cycle with the kids.  


Do something significantly more intense for at least 15-30 minutes at least 2 days a week. This includes things like cardiovascular activities or strength-based exercise. 


Do something every day for at least 15-30 minutes to actively reduce stress as needed. This includes things like stretching, breathing exercises, massages, light swimming, and long walks. 

A pyramid divided into three sections. The top section reads 'play (1-2 week)'. The second section reads 'Activate (2-3 week)'. The third section reads 'Regenerate (everyday)'.