Women at Work: Exercise can boost productivity

As you drive to work on a cold, rainy morning you see "them" running and you mutter to yourself, "They are just plain nuts, I would never do that."

Or, as you drive by the workout center, there "they" are, exercising like nobody's business. "Them" and "they" are the women who make time in their day for exercise, whether it is freezing, raining or hotter than a sauna.

Women like these would like to let the rest of us in on a secret, "Exercise makes you more productive at work." That's right, there are more benefits than just losing weight and staying in shape. There are hundreds of local women who dedicate portions of their day (talk about time management skills!) to getting fit (kudos to you all).

Beth Coons, adjunct instructor at Globe University and server at Zzest, is a runner. In fact, several months ago her picture appeared on the front page of the PB as the lone runner braving the freezing rain and wind. On a daily basis, Beth (a single mother) likes to get up before her child does to run, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the myriads of birds and animals she sees.

When it comes to the correlation of being more productive at work and exercise, Coons states, "I am much more productive the days I work out. It is gratifying to start out your day with an accomplishment, and I feel more energized."


Sara Baustian-Kohn, a part-time rehabilitation associate and marketing services representative at a physical therapy clinic and a full-time chauffeur to three boys, is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and CrossFit Endurance Running Trainer. Sara makes exercising a priority as she shares, "I know I am so much better at everything else I try to do in a day if I have exercised. I get up VERY early and get it done before everyone else is awake. I have a supportive husband who also makes exercise a priority, so we make sure to help each other fit it in our busy schedules."

When it comes to being more productive at work, Sara admitted there is one day (because of her patient load) that she gets an hour and a half more sleep but doesn't get to exercise, yet that is the day she feels the most tired and least motivated.

Sara recently invited me to a 56-day fitness and getting healthy challenge, to which I accepted as I hoped it would help me build unbreakable habits (we are on day 25). Both gals shared what they think it takes to make running or exercising a habit.

In Kohn's opinion, it takes at least 20 days/3 weeks to build a habit that includes exercise and diet changes, but you have to really challenge yourself over the course of those three weeks. A little slip up here and there does not mean you cannot do it. Coons states that "four to six weeks of dedication and making changes should get you in the habits of being healthy."

Both women are very encouraging and know "you have to start somewhere." Beth acknowledges, "It is always hard in the beginning, but give it a month to see that the time spent exercising is rewarding. Find the right routine for you and try new things."

Sara's advice is to just start! "Don't wait for Monday, don't wait until you have your 'nutrition' under control, don't wait until you think you will have more time to exercise, just get up and go. Go for a walk, a bike ride, anything ... every day. Pretty soon you will need and want more."

A good friend, Jessica France, who runs, swims, bikes and also finds the time to make exercise and nutrition a priority is returning to Rochester this summer and has "vowed to whip me in to shape."

Ladies, you do not need the most expensive shoes or have to belong to the most upscale gym to get going. I have discovered that with the encouragement of these three women, a gravel road and a few trips to the grocery store to get healthy food, I am on my way to new habits that will last a lifetime. And frankly, if I can "get up and start," anyone can.

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