Although we don’t always like to admit it, every single thing that we do affects our productivity in some way. Even when we don’t notice we’re doing things, like nurturing a negative mindset, they can still hinder our abilities to complete a task or reach a goal. That said, healthy habits are helpful for individuals who are in the process of completing an elongated task – and there’s one in particular with a big impact: exercise. We know it’s not among your typical job search tips, but fitting in a daily workout can have huge benefits!

If you’re out of a job, it can be hard to create a new exercise routine outside of work. It could start to feel like you’re glued to your desk, or trapped in your home office, doing nothing but applying to jobs and networking. By setting a specific time every day to either go to the gym, work out outside, or – if need be – exercise in a different part of the house, you can start to create a new routine to improve productivity and avoid getting caught in a rut.

Unemployment can be tough, but believe it or not exercise can make it a little more bearable! By staying in shape, you can increase your body image, which is scientifically proven to increase your overall self-confidence. This confidence comes in handy in all parts of the job search – not just interviews. Confidence and energy come across in your cover letters and any communication with hiring managers. In fact, it’s one of the qualities they look for!

One of the most significant benefits of exercise is stress reduction. We know, job searching can be a doozy, and sometimes it can be so stressful that we start to respond with physical symptoms like headaches and insomnia. The chemicals released in your brain during exercise are proven to calm you down and actually make you happier. Try it yourself – next time you’re in a bad mood, run or walk a mile and see how you feel! The change may surprise you.

Productivity levels can make or break your job search, and exercise can actually help you stay focused! By stepping away from your applications for an hour to immerse yourself in some lunges and cardio, you give your brain a chance to reboot itself. Plus, working out helps circulate your blood, bringing more oxygen to the brain and literally increasing its power! Yup – believe it or not, working out can actually make you smarter.

Mirroring your job search in your exercise works, too. What do we mean by that? In many instances, people associate working out with setting goals. “By the end of this month I want to run two miles,” or “I want to lose 10 pounds.” Whatever your goal may be, don’t be afraid to set it! Start small – maybe your goal is to simply commit to exercising for thirty minutes. If you become motivated to complete small tasks in your active life, you can do the same with your job search. Suddenly, the goal of sending out two resumes will turn into three networking events and an interview, just because you set your mind to it!

Hate working out? A lot of people think they do, too, but you may discover something different once you jump in. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of finding the right form of exercise for you. Some people hate cardio, while others could run for miles. Some people find restorative yoga more energizing than zumba class, while others need constant, intense movement to appreciate their workout. We promise that taking a few tries to find the type of exercise for you will help you leaps and bounds when it comes to your job search – and probably all other aspects of your life!

Reading this at the gym? Download Rake during your water break to propel your job search even further.

Also published on Medium.