A healthy body and a healthy mind go together. And there’s a link between your personal fitness and the health of your business. Is it time you started to change your habits and get in shape? The good news is that it doesn’t need to be difficult.
As a new study from Amsterdam University Medical Centre, shows the positive correlation between physical activity in children and academic achievement, I decided to write about my own experience with shifting myself off the sofa and into a form of movement that is both fun and effective.
Seven years ago I retrained as a fitness instructor knowing that if I didn’t link exercise with some sort of incentive, like people turning up at a class waiting for me to teach, then my best intentions would fade and I would slowly sink back onto that appealingly comfortable settee. The evidence is overwhelming that the single most powerful variable in leading a more relaxed, healthy, energetic, bright life is exercise.
It doesn’t have to be hours a day at the gym, wearing holes in your kneecaps or pedaling furiously to nowhere in particular. It can be as simple as walking a little further than usual on a daily basis.
Check out this fun theory clip designed to get people walking up the stairs rather than use an adjoining escalator:
If you wake up sluggish, sleep poorly, use caffeine, nicotine, and/or alcohol to manage energy and emotions, feel the cold, succumb to feelings of melancholy about the economy, catch every cold going, then simple walking can be the antidote. There is lots of support out there to help you make healthier choices in your life, such as the many free tools on NHS better health. If you are a smoker, for example, there are a lot of options out there to help you quit. Websites like https://cfah.org/quit-smoking/ and many more are available to assist you in making healthier life choices by quitting the habit. We are spoilt for choice in terms of what exercise to choose, from sport centre, to the ‘green gym’ outdoors or even while you shop: an independent department store has a wonderful set of four flights of stairs that I use as a personal benchmark for how my fitness has improved.
And what has this to do with running our businesses? Well, we don’t say ‘sitting’ our businesses. Businesses are dynamic and reflect our attitudes, solution-finding abilities and levels of energy. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, increases feel-good hormone release such as serotonin and dopamine, increases our metabolism and circulation. Exercise enables us to sleep deeply and it is in our sleep that our brains come up with solutions. Business is also about building positive, resilient relationships with our customers, clients, competitors, etc. that enable us to weather the tough times by collaborating and coming up with new ways of working alongside each other.
Exercise chills us out and I have found helps me to see the funny side of a situation that perhaps would have sparked resentment or anger in the past. I’m more in touch with my body and the signals it sends me to stay healthy and energetic. I rest more, I sleep deeply, I have much more energy available to me and my brain is definitely more efficient. My scrabble game has improved and my business has correspondingly gone from strength to strength. I seem to do less and achieve more with my time. I invite you to find your way to do the same.