All too often, entrepreneurs put all their energy into their careers, leaving other important areas of their lives, like taking care of their bodies, bone-dry of attention. This often leads to health problems, burnout and a noticeable decline in leadership abilities. When our bodies aren’t functioning at their best, our minds don’t, either. And as executives, our minds are our most important professional tools.
I’ve found that investing more time into working out and moving my body has helped me become a better executive. With the greater energy and focus I’ve gained from improving my physical health, I’m more able to inject passion and creative problem solving into my everyday work life.
If you find yourself struggling with management tasks, lack of ideas, or simply not enough energy to bring your best self to work every day, try these strategies to inject more physical fitness into your weekly routine. The hours of “work” you sacrifice to take care of your body will pay back tenfold in greater abilities behind the executive desk.
Greater Energy Leads To More Positive Interactions
When I turned 40, I realized that many years of my life had been spent sitting, and there was no way of bringing them back. There I was, overweight, and I knew this lifestyle wasn’t sustainable in the long term.
I started working with a personal trainer. Yes, it was difficult at first. But as I made progress with my training, I found it easier to make conscious choices to move more during my day, like biking to meetings. I even started inviting clients and employees for mountain biking or long walking sessions instead of Zoom meetings.
My novel approach to meetings, plus my increased energy and attention during those meetings, helped me make stronger connections with both the people on my team and my clients. My day-to-day interactions became more productive as my energy level and mood improved, all because of my newfound level of physical health.
No matter how busy your schedule is, you can always find ways to move your body. Take the stairs. Walk to meetings. Get a stand desk or a treadmill desk. I would suggest working with a trainer, because not only is a trainer’s expertise enormously helpful, but the accountability factor will keep you from skipping workouts. If you can’t find a trainer, any amount of movement helps.
A Healthy Body Breeds Better Thinking
Seeing my progress via data kept me enthusiastic about my new lifestyle, but hard data was nothing compared to the changes I was seeing in the office. As it turns out, getting my physical fitness on track helped a lot more than my waistline.
As executives, our role is crucial in ensuring that our companies run smoothly and objectives are reached. Executives need to be resilient, anti-fragile, and on top of their games mentally to lead their firms and employees effectively.
Being more physically fit is known to improve cognitive abilities, including regulating behavior, improving memory, and increasing attention. With the sustained energy that comes from a regular exercise regimen, the brain is better able to problem-solve, think of creative solutions, and stay calm in crisis situations. Personally, I’ve noticed that I’m better able to articulate discussion points more clearly since beginning my fitness program. These are all skills critical to effective leadership.
Better Health Creates Better Executive Outcomes
It’s important to remember that executives aren’t paid by the hour. They’re paid by the outcome. Your outcomes aren’t going to improve by working too many hours and ignoring your human need to relax, take a break, and move your body. The hours of work you trade to invest in your physical fitness will more than pay for themselves with the positive mental effects and increases in executive function.
Exercise Is The Hidden Executive Solution
If you find yourself struggling to focus at the office, lacking energy to be fully present at meetings, or find yourself missing the motivation to truly be the best executive you can be, I encourage you to do what I did and begin investing in your physical fitness. If I knew I could achieve such a dramatic change in my energy level and focus, all in just six months, I would have done this 20 years ago.