Reclaiming your physical health is a necessity for operating at peak mental capacity explains Brenda Bernstein
A top business strategist, Tony Jeary, was asked in the August 2017 edition of Success Magazine for some quick leadership tips. I expected answers such as: learn everything you can about management, listen to your employees, create a clear mission and vision, and commit to your personal growth.
Jeary gave four pieces of advice. And while three of his answers were along the lines I had anticipated, I was surprised that this one made the top four: “Take care of yourself. Eat well, sleep enough and exercise regularly.”
The “exercise regularly” part stood out for me. This is great advice for everyone, whether you’re expanding a company from two to ten, or you’re an entry-level employee, a CEO, the owner of a start-up, or somewhere in between.
A Harvard Business Review article went so far as to claim that “Regular Exercise is Part of Your Job” because of its mental benefits (improved concentration, sharper memory, faster learning, prolonged mental stamina, enhanced creativity, and lower stress). And exercise is especially important as a job seeker. It will bring structure and energy to your day, which is key to a successful, productive job search. All it takes is a quick Google search to see at least one recruiter’s assertion that exercise is one of the most important parts of the job search.
Excusing vs. Exercising
Most of us know the advantages of regular exercise: it eases stress, increases work productivity, reduces sick days, boosts confidence, improves sleep, gives you energy, and releases positive, mood-enhancing chemicals into your brain that ward off anxiety and depression.
Who wouldn’t want all those benefits? Yes, we know we could have them, and we want them! But knowing is not doing, and many of us regularly make up excuses rather than take care of our bodies. “I need to sleep!” “I have to work.” “I have to make lunch for the kids.” “I have a cold.” “My back hurts.” Or simply, “I don’t feel like it.”
I grew up with a condition that makes me prone to breaking bones, and I was taught that daily exercise was essential to minimizing fractures. Believe it or not, I internalized that advice, and have exercised daily for as long as I can remember. Then, on an impulse, I started an intensive fitness program that entails weight lifting, ball throwing, tire flipping, jumping in various ways, and other muscle-building, bone-building activities. I managed to fit in these workouts five days/week, and somehow still to get everything done that I needed to for my business. I built muscle and lost some extra pounds without changing what I ate.
Plus, I was in a better mood and made more sales than I did in the weeks before I started the program. Coincidence? Probably not.
What would inspire you to prioritize exercise, if you’re not doing so already?
I was curious to find out more about my body composition and to see if I could bring it to a more ideal balance. I liked the attention and encouragement I got from the trainers, and I looked forward to seeing them each day. And my numbers were going in the right direction, which for me is very motivating.
What is it for you? Is there a type of movement you enjoy? Is it walking, running, biking, dancing, swimming, lifting weights? If you’re a social person, would having a workout buddy help? Maybe even a different buddy each day? What about working out as a family activity?
Maybe the option of multitasking would make the difference for you. If you have work calls to make, can you make them from the treadmill? Maybe you could answer emails while on a stationary bike or elliptical machine. If you love listening to music, exercise time could be your opportunity to get lost in your favorite tunes. Or if there are shows you like to watch, perhaps you could watch them from a home exercise room.
Exercising can also be a form of meditation – swimming plays that role for me, and I know others who walk to clear their minds. So, if you’re not making time to meditate, at least make time to exercise!