Want to improve job performance? Take a walk, take a hike … no, seriously

hikers-on-trail

The International Labour Organization estimated in 2012 that 50% to 60% of all workdays lost were caused by factors associated with work stress. Improvements in technology, and especially mobile technology, may not be helping this.

Stress is not always bad. For example, it can provide drive, energy and focus. However, too much stress or the wrong kind of it can be bad for the employee and, as the ILO report shows, the bottom line.

Program and project managers are not immune. For example, under stress, a person’s cognitive ability (as measured by IQ) can drop by 15 points. This is can be illustrated by the Yerkes-Dodson curve showing moderate levels of stress improve performance, but high levels reducing it.

But there is a practical step we can take to reduce the effects of negative stress: Walk. Or take a hike.

Walking has been found to improve the immune system, exactly the opposite effect that negative stress has on the immune system. BUPA suggest that just walking 15 minutes a day can increase your longevity by 3 years. By providing nutrients and oxygen to cells, walking improves circulation. And don’t forget the benefits of being forced to breathe regularly. When walking, we literally breathe out the stress and the tension.

Indeed, hiking in the countryside can provide even more health benefits. Dr. Aaron L. Baggish, from Massachusetts General Hospital, says that there are some studies showing that open spaces, parks and countryside help reduce people’s stress.

How does this help program and project managers? There is evidence that showschanges in higher-level cognitive function … are measurable, even in completely disconnected natural environments.”

To increase your problem-solving capability – a ‘walk in the woods’ seems a great way of doing it. So, if you can get out and walk, 15 minutes a day, or even more; if you can join a hiking club or venture into the countryside – then not only you but your project will see the benefits……

Good news for employers. Good news for employees.

And it is free.

See these links below for more information:

See you on the trail!

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