Women on the run: Research has show that physical activity improves work performance. *File photo
Women on the run: Research has show that physical activity improves work performance. *File photo

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 21: We women have gained a somewhat unfair reputation for taking too much time looking after ourselves at work.

We all know the stereotypes about ladies filing their nails at their desks, keeping their entire shoe collection in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet or storing emergency mascara and lipstick next to their pens and pencils.

I’m not revealing which of those crimes I’m guilty of, but I have learnt from personal experience what a positive difference looking after myself physically makes to my performance in the office.

I have become an avid runner and started yoga shortly after commencing my professional career in the accounting field.

I found that spending eight hours a day at a desk was creating tension in my back and neck and getting out for a run or attending a yoga class before or after work became a great way to relieve that tightness and any stress.

Being active even improves my mood.

Others around me can sense this and when I’m not my usual cheerful self they tell me to go for a run, and it works because immediately after I’m much more pleasant and productive at work!

I also have very few sick days and when I do catch the occasional cold or flu I find I bounce back pretty quickly.

Research supports my personal observations.

According to a recent study by Dr. Jim Mckenna, PhD, MSc, from Leeds Metropolitan University in England, who surveyed 210 office workers who used their company gym, ratings for mental-interpersonal performance, the ability to manage time, and productivity were significantly higher on the days the employees exercised.

There are many different ways to increase your activity levels and gain the benefits of physical activity.

Everyone is different and not everyone wants to go out and run a marathon.

Think about how you get to work, for example, could you walk if you don’t already, park further away or get off the bus a few stops earlier and make exercise part of your daily regimen?

Also, try to get a short walk in at lunchtime even if you take your lunch with you to work and don’t have any errands to run.

Keeping active outside of work is important but so is taking the time to get up and move around regularly in the office to look after your back and improve circulation in the body.

KRyS Global specialises in forensic accountancy and insolvency so I spend a lot of time at my desk looking at complex documents, but my chiropractor advises I should stand up and move around every 20 minutes.

At KRyS Global, we promote physical activity within our organization, as well as within the community.

KRyS Global sponsors running races including 5k and 10k races in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, but it’s most notable sponsorship is of ‘Off The Beaten Track’ in the Cayman Islands.

‘Off The Beaten Track’ is an annual, one-of-a-kind ultra-marathon and consists of teams of six running in relay over a distance of approximately 50 kilometres.

As the name implies, the course is a complex route incorporating beach, dyke roads, back streets, water crossings, bush trekking, and more.

KRyS Global is considering expanding this race to Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, and Bahamas - the other jurisdictions in which the company operates.

A recent Health in Review survey of the adult population in Bermuda published by Bermuda Health Council revealed only one in five undertake vigorous activity at least three times a week; so many of us could be doing more and gaining the benefits from being able to perform our jobs better.

In light of this, I challenge all of you to increase your activity levels and experience for yourself the positive difference it makes to your personal and professional life.

Start with small increases and set a goal that you can work towards and is achievable for you, such as completing a 5k walk or run.

Once you’ve accomplished that goal set a new, slightly more challenging, goal.

In time you may even find yourself completing the Bermuda End-to-End, Bermuda Half Marathon Derby or even an ultra-marathon.

Even if you don’t take it to that extreme, you will still be reaping the rewards of living a more active lifestyle.

Carla Colbourne is a senior analyst at KRyS Global.