Everyone knows that exercise can improve your health. Exercise is a key part of managing your weight and maintaining healthy hearts, lungs, and other bodily systems. But did you know that exercise can make you more productive? There have been a lot of studies that show how exercise helps increase productivity and keep you sharper during work hours.
We had a chat with Henry Ives, Director of H+ Performance to discuss the importance of exercise in improving productivity using his work with AVA as a case study
Introduce Yourself and what you do.
I am Henry Ives, a Personal Trainer, Nutritionist and Performance Coach, and Director of H+ Performance in the City of London. H+ Performance is all about coaching and empowering people with evidence-based knowledge, to take charge of their health and overall wellness. We have worked with complete beginners all the way up to Olympic and Commonwealth Games athletes, to help them perform better in all aspects of their lives.
Why do you think exercise is important?
Exercise is important for many reasons. Fundamentally, exercise is about creating a more resilient person, whatever level they are at. This could range from keeping an athlete injury-free for a season, all the way to making sure that an older person has enough muscle mass so they can get up and down stairs or carry their shopping easily. It is applicable to everyone in every walk of life. The more overlooked aspect of exercise though is the positive impact it has on your mental wellbeing.
When it comes to productivity for individuals and teams, how does exercise come in to play?
I am sure you have often heard the phrase, “firing on all cylinders”, but what does this really mean? Think about it a bit like this, especially when it comes to understanding the importance of the team dynamic: If each individual is in a better state of mental wellbeing from getting better sleep, eating well, doing exercise that is relevant to them and feeling more fulfilled overall because of it, then they will be better decision-makers and the team as a sum of its parts will be far more effective. If we imagine that the work team is indeed a sports team and that work is the sport, you would never find a situation where a sports team just turned up to compete against another team, without putting in any training beforehand. The same applies to you and your work – you need to be in the best place possible.
What is the best exercise for productivity?
I do not think there is a best exercise for productivity, a bit like I do not think is there is one best type of exercise. What I do believe is that people should choose to do more of the exercise that they enjoy – that way it is likely they will do it more often.
How and why should individuals adapt their mentality to train regularly?
There are two sides to this – mostly because some people will have the opposite problem, i.e., they will work incredibly demanding hours at work and will then perhaps do too much exercise, leading them to burnout. For some people, they might be struggling to get started with regular exercise, so their training sessions are few and far between. In either situation, it is sometimes useful to imagine that you are the owner of a million-pound racehorse. It is your most precious asset. You want your horse to win all the big races, so obviously, you want to get it the best trainer, give it the most effective exercise that won’t leave it exhausted and broken, feed it the best foods, and let it get great quality sleep and rest. Then you know that you have got the best chance of seeing it cross the finish line in the first place.
How are you working with AVA to improve productivity with exercise?
H+ Performance is working with AVA Energy on an individual level across the company. We work on a 1:1 coaching basis, to improve all areas of each person’s health – looking at individual exercise programmes that are relevant to that person, nutritional habits, and all aspects of physical and mental wellbeing.
How do you think this is important to accelerate AVA’s growth?
There is no doubt that a healthier workforce, with higher levels of workplace fulfilment and fewer sick days, is going to result in accelerated growth in the short and medium-term. The bigger picture though is that many companies will see growth as only referring to turnover and net profit. The area that many companies compromise on though, is the growth of their teams. When you have a young company like AVA, putting in place a system that invests back into its employees will aid retention and create the future leaders of the company, who in turn will continue to help cultivate a company culture that only helps the retention of its staff. This is only going to increase the growth of the company down the line.
What is the most exciting part of working with AVA?
Being a Performance Coach is all about looking at the demands of a sport or an event, and then coaching a team or an individual to meet those demands as best as possible. It is about creating the path of least resistance to achieving the outcome. Working with AVA is exciting because this is applied to the world of work. I am excited to see where this can go with such a forward-thinking, agile company such as AVA.