I’m an absolute believer that a healthy lifestyle which includes regular exercise directly improves your ability to live a greater more purposeful life and be a better leader.
I’ve been going to the gym for 15 years. Except for a few stretches where I was injured, I’ve exercised for at least 30 minutes 4 days a week.
I have found the more consistently I exercise, the better I feel and the more productive I am personally and in my business life.
My mood is consistently elevated; I have less stress and am able to think clearer.
All of which positively impacts my ability to lead and coach others to achieve greater results.
Now let’s take a look at how exercise can help you lead, be more productive and have less stress.
This time of year the gym is always a bit more crowded, there are always longer waits for cardio equipment and the classes are fuller. Since I started working out regularly 15 years ago I’ve seen the recurring pattern of New Years gym crowding.
I have no issue with the crowds as it frequently means more people are living a healthy lifestyle and taking their fitness serious in the New Year.
But inevitably after about 3 weeks to a month the gym starts to clear out again and it’s just the sweaty regulars and me again.
Does this sound familiar? What happens? Why do you stop going to the gym?
Oh wait, I think I know why…
Life gets in the way.
There is too much to do, there is not enough time, I’m too tired, etc.
Why? Why is exercise always the first New Year’s resolution/habit to go down the toilet?
Underneath the justifications of why you can’t exercise, some of which are absolutely legitimate, you fail to see the true reasons why exercise is important beyond wanting to look good and lower your blood pressure.
Why exercising to look good doesn’t work
While there is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, it’s just not a powerful enough reason for most people to stick to exercising to obtain the true benefits.
We are obsessed with how our bodies look. Images of beautiful physically fit people surround us and we are bombarded by these images all day everyday.
So like most people, you say if I look like so-and-so my life will be great. So you resolve in the New Year to exercise and go on a diet in hope of looking like a supermodel.
You make a plan, maybe buy a new pair of shoes, sign up at the local health club and hit it hard for the first few weeks.
Then you start noticing the amount of work and time it really takes to look like a supermodel and you don’t see the results as fast as you want.
And sure enough, you slowly revert back to the old habits and make the all so common excuses of no time, too tired, too much to do, etc.
Life gets in the way
If you were to tie in the overall benefits of regular exercise, you may not be so quick to ditch it when life gets in the way, because exercising will start to relieve some of the issues that come with living life.
For example, when you are stressed, in a bad mood or have lower energy, your ability to produce at work and at home is reduced. Therefore, it takes longer and it’s harder to accomplish common tasks.
When you work harder and longer you feel more tired and have less time, which results in your justifications for not exercising.
Too tired and no time…
Here is the key point…by not exercising; you are contributing directly to the reasons why you don’t have the mood, energy or time to exercise! It is vicious cycle.
Let me give you more powerful reasons to make exercise a life long habit and part of your healthy lifestyle.
Let’s create a better cycle.
“Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning,” says Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey, author of the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.
Research has proven time and time again that regular exercise can do the following:
- Lower stress by introducing serotonin and dopamine into your body
- Lift your mood and decrease anxiety by increasing your GABA
- Improve your ability to handle complex tasks by establishing new neuron connections
- Obtain the Runner’s High and increase energy by releasing endorphins into your body
- Improve self esteem and confidence by feeling and looking better
By taking the time to exercise, you can have less stress, be in a better mood and have more energy to accomplish your tasks faster, thereby creating more time to exercise!
Instead of going to the gym to lose a few pounds and look better, go to the gym to improve your personal and professional life.
Exercise to gain more energy and more time.
Exercise to improve the overall quality of your life.
Start creating a healthier lifestyle and exercise for the right reasons.
So get back to the gym and resolve to not only look better but to feel better and perform better.
Images Courtesy: Vandana U Choradia