How Exercise Can Help You Run Your Business
I recently read an article that said if you don’t exercise regularly, your putting your job at risk because you won’t have the mental energy to be productive and your lack of productivity will mean you get passed over for that big promotion.
While I felt threatening the reader was an odd way to frame the article (honestly, I could write a whole piece on that choice alone because it’s so bizarre), the idea that regular exercise has a strong correlation to our working lives IS actually worth discussing because they’re right, it does have a positive impact.
Now, before we really dig into this we just wanted to say that none of this is intended to make anyone feel crappy for not working out regularly.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not really a sporty person (never have been) and I find the gym ultra boring so I know what a struggle sticking to a regular schedule can be.
All we’re trying to do here is give you a little information, based on our own experiences, to get you thinking about how exercise relates to your life outside of your physical fitness goals.
So, with all that said, what DOES exercise have to do with running a business?
Let’s take a look.
IT HELPS BUILD MENTAL RESILIENCE
Starting and running a business takes a lot of resilience. There are a million and one unknowns that can throw a lot of anxiety and overwhelm into your day and, no matter how much planning you put into something, sometimes stuff just doesn’t work out.
Finding ways to build up your resilience so you can get back on that proverbial horse then - when things aren’t going as planned - is a good thing and exercise can help with this.
Because, let’s get real, exercise is hard too, but it’s also lower stakes and there’s a more guided, beaten path to reaching your fitness goals and finding success. If you stick with it, you’re going to see improvements and those improvements will be tied to very real challenges.
This entire process, this experience teaches you about your limits and how changeable they can be. It teaches you that you can do hard things and learning those things about yourself means you’ll inherently know them when shit hits the fan at work.
At least, that’s what we’ve found.
We’re more able to persevere through the muck because we’ve been honing our perseverance skills in our workoutslittle by little. We’ve pushed our bodies when they don’t want to be pushed and we’ve seen the positive results for doing that.
These are lessons our brains internalize and draw from when they’re trying to make up our minds about whether we can overcome other obstacles we’re faced with, so exercise is an excellent way to build your resilience.
IT HELPS BUILD CONFIDENCE
Any kind of workout (well, maybe with the exception of shake weights and those belts machine’s people used to use to vibrate their butts) is going to help build up your strength and overall fitness level and those accomplishments go straight to our heads… in a good way.
Our brains aren’t just learning to be more resilient every time we overcome our bodies and minds to achieve something, they’re gaining confidence too because, well, when was the last time you felt crappy about yourself for succeeding at something really hard?
The results of working out are also often visible. We get firmer muscles, our posture can improve, we might even get a little leaner. And, all of these changes act as recurring reminders of our achievements and, let’s face it, it’s easier to remember something when it’s staring you in the face every day than when it’s not.
The biggest thing to remember here, to make sure your workouts are confidence building, is to set realistic goals. Magazines are photoshopped and not even those models really look like that, so don’t hold yourself to an impossible standard. Keep the focus on strength and fitness, not getting skinny.
Our bodies are also really different from one another and that’s what makes us great, so don’t bother comparing your fitness achievements with someone else’s because that’s like comparing apples and parsnips and is a sure fired way to frustrate your efforts.
Just focus on doing you and what you feel are achievements. Kick the other voices out of your head for good.
IT ENERGIZES YOU
Funnily enough, that article I read kind of hit the nail on the head. Okay, not the part about your career trajectory potentially taking a nose dive, but the part about it helping you stay productive.
Working out increases blood flow to our brains and that, in turn, revitalizes us, helps us feel more energetic, and improves our mental acuity which are all great things when it comes to work.
If you’re feeling like you just have too much on your plate and can’t possibly sacrifice 45 minutes of your day to a workout, then maybe just do a bit of an experiment and see whether that’s actually true.
Chances are you’ll end up being even more productive at work if you do take that break, so give it’s definitely worth giving it a shot.
When we’re working out, it’s pretty difficult to focus on anything more than how many reps we’re doing, how our muscles are moving, and how we’re breathing.
At least, that’s what our, mere mortal, experience of it.
Workouts keep us focused on something that isn’t work. They’re a reprieve from our to-do lists and phones, they’re a break from anything but the present and, really, that’s what meditation is; clearing our heads of clutter and focusing on the immediate.
Okay, exercise isn’t pure meditation, especially if you’re in a class or working with a trainer, but it has a lot of the same qualities which means you’ll get a lot of the same positive mental health results from it.
We need to disconnect from things sometimes, we need our lives to be about more than just work and exercise gives us an opportunity to achieve both of those things. That’s why it’s so worth considering those qualities the next time you think about forgoing your workout in favour of your to-do list.
So, there you have it. Those are all the reasons we here at DBG feel exercise relates to running a business.
The only other words of advice we’ll leave you with, which Daphne wanted to emphasize, is that if you’re going to workout, pick something you actually like doing or do it in a place you love being because you’re that much more likely to stick with it.
For me, that means doing yoga and running (ok, maybe not running anymore - my hips are a mess). For Daphne and Lucy that means the gym and being with the friends they’ve made there. And for you, who knows, it could be free climbing The Chief or just taking a brisk walk on the Sea Wall.
It’s doesn’t matter. Just do what feels good and the rest will fall into place!