Why Running Can Make You More Productive

I’ve been a regular runner since high school, and increasingly I find it to be helpful for my work life.  Particularly on those days when I work from home, running gives me a nice break in the middle of the day to reflect on what still needs to be done and set goals for the rest of the afternoon.

So I appreciated seeing Paul Wilson’s piece on LinkedIn on the benefits of running for work:

Running allows me to regain perspective in a world that is overrun with information and interruptions. It allows me to escape for a moment and to let my thoughts run free.

The remarkable thing about running is the inability to hold a coherent thought during the duration of a run. I might start a run wrestling with a thorny problem but I can be sure that will not be the thought I end the run with. It’s as if the act of freeing my body and running frees my mind as well.

In addition, I’ve noticed that my best ideas and thoughts come either during a run or immediately afterward. Running creates distance from problems both literally and metaphorically and allows me to change my perspective. Viewing a problem differently creates new possibilities and pathways. And it is this change in perspective that helps create new ways of thinking and ideas.

I couldn’t agree more about the inspiration you can get on a run. I’ve come up with project ideas while running that have been among our most successful. And often it’s little inspirations when you give your mind space, like a thought that maybe I should email this person for help on a particular task, or maybe I let some other task fall by the wayside that I should follow up on (not to mention blog post ideas). Without the uninterrupted time I can claim during a run, these self-suggestions wouldn’t surface.

Of course, running is also energizing, giving me renewed energy to tackle work tasks. But the mental benefits in our increasingly distracted and reaction-prone world cannot be overstated.