It’s a good thing I don’t have a couch in my office.
If I did, I’d probably nod off every day about 2PM. Now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with an afternoon nap. The Huffington Post actually has nap rooms for its employees and president Arianna Huffington is a firm believer in the importance of getting enough rest.
But most days I have to power through a busy afternoon and and a nap isn’t going to happen.
I’ve discovered a good midday sweat sesh makes a difference.
I get my heart pumping over the noon hour at Fly Fitness, a studio near my office that offers a variety of classes. Most of them are 45 minutes so I can shower, fix my hair and get back to work in no time. Jazzercise offers a 12:15 express class that's 30 minutes and my favorite weekend classes are the 1:30 Fusion and Flip Fusion formats.
Afternoon classes fuel the rest of my day and clear out the cobwebs.
There’s science behind the idea that exercise increases productivity. Physical exertion actually boosts energy by stimulating the development of mitochondria. Mitochondria is known as the cell’s power plant because it produces ATP, the chemical your body uses as energy, not only for physical tasks but for your brain, as well. Okay, enough biology. All that matters is exercise helps stimulate the brain.
Add a motivating playlist and you have the prescription for an energized afternoon.
Take, for example, the Fly Ride cycling class I took last summer taught by Kim Barrett. Kim is a friend and colleague and the human personification of the Energizer Bunny. She stays on top of the crazy schedules of two kids, a spouse and a job and still manages to teach fitness classes. With a smile on her face.
Kim knocked it out of the park with a class she called the Empowerment Ride. Throughout the class, she nudged us up those hills with a kick-a** playlist and a series of motivating messages, including:
Fight for you goals.
Be present in your life.
Be proud of yourself.
Figure out what you want and go after it.
Support each other.
I went back to work feeling strong, determined and ready for anything.
Don’t mess with me.
Even when I can’t get away for a full workout during the day, I try to get up from my desk and take a short walk to clear out the cobwebs in my brain.
So if you’re the kind of person who starts to drag in the afternoon, head for the gym at lunchtime. If your schedule doesn’t allow it, lace up your shoes and take a quick spin around the block. You’ll be glad you did.
By the way, here are the songs on Kim’s Empowerment playlist, in case you want to make your own. I did.
Remember the Name – The Rising Tied
Rise Up – Audra Day
Powerful – Major Lazar
Broken Arrows – Avicii
Me Too – Meghan Trainor
Not Afraid – Eminem
The Power – SNAP!
Confident – Demi Lovato
Stand By You – Rachel Platten