How A Cardio Workout Can Improve Your Work Life
There’s a reason why going for a jog when you’re stressed feels so darn good. And it turns out that emotional release from exercise doesn’t just lower your cortisol levels — it can help protect you from career burnout as well.
We all know that feeling of burnout at work: mental, physical and emotional stress and fatigue that leads you to even question your competency in your job. A recent Australian study found that consistent sweat sessions — especially cardio-based ones — can directly reduce symptoms of burnout like feeling psychologically stressed and emotionally exhausted.
Researchers from the University of New England decided to explore how effective exercise could be in mitigating symptoms of burnout. For the study, the researchers recruited almost 50 formerly inactive participants, two-thirds of whom were women, between the ages of 19 and 68 and separated them into three groups: one that performed cardiovascular exercises, one that performed resistance training exercises and one that maintained the preexisting sedentary lifestyle. Each participant evaluated their experiences with the exercise programs over four weeks with three psychological scales: the Subjective Exercise Experience Scale, which measures a person’s responses to exercise stimuli; the Perceived Stress Scale, which measures the degrees to which situations a person experiences feel stressful; and the Maslach Burnout Inventory, which measures a person’s feelings of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and personal accomplishment.
The team found that both cardiovascular and resistance training exercises can successfully increase well-being and sense of personal accomplishment, as well as reduce perceived stress. But cardio workouts specifically were able to decrease psychological stress and emotional exhaustion — two key components of burnout.