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[Photo: Reinhard Hunger for Fast Company]

The New Habit Challenge: Can Getting Fit Also Make Us More Productive?

Join our resident habit expert Rachel Gillett and other Fast Company editors on Friday, November 14 at 11 a.m. EST as we discuss what happened when we exercised our way to getting more done.

Exercise isn’t just a great way to get fitter and healthier bodies—it turns out a mere 20 minutes of activity a day can also give our minds the boost we need to get more done. 

Recent research has shown that the brain reacts in several beneficial ways to exercise. For example, it triggers the release of a protein called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, which helps improve our learning and memory. Additionally, exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which significantly reduce feelings of stress. 

"A reduction in stress is tantamount to an expansion of time," writes one expert

Just as importantly, the feelings of self-efficacy that we get when we exercise make us less likely to avoid difficult tasks or situations and more likely to see them as challenges to be mastered. 

To be more productive, we can exercise any time during the day with whatever activity we like best. In fact, to see mental benefits, exercise doesn't have to be extremely rigorous; just a little bit of movement every day for about 20 minutes at a time helps. 

For this week's habit challenge, several of us at Fast Company are putting this idea to the test by working out for 20 minutes each day. Join us for a live chat at 11 a.m. EST on Friday, November 14 to find out if our flirtations with yoga, walking, or some good old-fashioned calisthenics helped us get more done. 

Did you try working out for a more productive week? Tell us about your experience in the "make a comment" box below or join in the discussion on Friday.

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