Sydney – Office workers who walk 10,000 steps a day and work out in the gym thrice a week can help their employers with increased productivity of $2,500 a year, an Australian study has claimed.
The Body-Brain Performance Institute, in collaboration with Melbourne’s Swinburne University’s Brain Sciences Institute, identified 40 employees of the Melbourne branch of global software company SAP in April. They gave them pedometers, which measure footsteps, and then split them into two groups.
The first group was given the task of achieving 10,000 steps a day. While the second group also had to clock 10,000 steps, but in addition had to undergo three training sessions each week, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Over eight weeks, the employees’ brain function, including the ability to plan, remember, simulate future scenarios and make decisions, were measured using a test.
Their alertness and energy levels were also measured, along with levels of anger and stress.
The test showed a clear link between vigorous physical activity, increased brain function and reduced stress levels at work.
While the first group showed a two percent improvement in their level of fitness and brain function, the test found that when more vigorous exercise was added, an employee’s “bio-age” – based on the level of a person’s health and fitness, compared to their chronological age – increased by five years.
Brain function also increased significantly, up to four percent.
Using a “productivity questionnaire” of Harvard University to translate the physical and cognitive improvement into a monetary value, the trial concluded that each member of the exercise group contributed an additional $2,500 worth of productivity annually to his or her company.