We all know that regular exercise is good for us. It helps prevent disease, it can make it easier to control physical health conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol, and it enables us to get to (and stay at) a healthier weight. Exercise provides a variety of mental health benefits as well, from improving mood to easing anxiety and depression.
But here’s another reason to make working out a priority if you haven’t done so already: it can also make you a more successful solopreneur. How?
Exercise, Neurotransmitters, and Improved Brain Power
Research indicates that exercise has been found to enhance the brain’s function in several ways. One to consider is the role it plays in regulating three very important neurotransmitters: dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
Dopamine is our feel-good hormone. It helps us experience pleasure and reward. What happens when we feel happier as a solopreneur? We start enjoying our business more. The days don’t seem as long, and we begin to look forward to the work we do – maybe like we used to, before things felt so monotonous or stressful.
When we’re happier, we’re also more likely to try to find ways to increase our clients’ happiness too. This can strengthen their loyalty. They see that we’re not only willing to go the extra mile for them, but we’ll do it with a smile on our faces. Who doesn’t want to work with someone like that?
Norepinephrine helps us feel more alert, enabling us to react quickly to the world around us. It also makes us feel more energetic.
Do you tend to get tired in the early afternoon, yet can’t slow down because you still have clients to see or projects to finish? Try stepping away from your work and taking a walk around the block, or staying where you are and doing a couple of jumping jacks. This can help give you the energy you need to finish out your day.
Serotonin is a mood stabilizer. As a solopreneur, the ability to keep a calm head in difficult situations can help improve our relationships with the people we serve. Clients know they can speak to us openly without risking that we’ll fly off the handle. This makes it more likely that they’ll come to us when there’s an issue, versus letting it boil up until the only option left is to sever the relationship.
Serotonin also helps us sleep better, which can make it easier to focus on the tasks at hand because we have a well-rested brain (and body). We’re not spending our days groggy from our lack of sleep the night before. Instead, we’re sleeping more soundly and for longer periods. We feel more rested as a result, which makes it easier to handle stress and solve problems when they arise.
Developing a Workout Program That Fits into Your Busy Schedule
One of the main reasons people don’t work out is because their schedules are already full. This couldn’t be truer for a solopreneur. It’s not uncommon for me to work 12 to 15 hours a day during my busy times. Add that to my responsibilities around the house and the idea of going for a walk, getting on the treadmill, or using my home gym can be less than appealing.
Does this mean that working long days give us a free pass to not work out? Not at all. In fact, if you’re like I am and spend a lot of time in front of the computer, it actually means the opposite. It is even more important that we get some physical activity because our bodies have been stationary most of the day.
If you struggle to fit in 30 to 60 minutes of exercise at a time, do mini workout sessions instead. Stop a few times during your day and walk in place, dance to your favorite song, or do a few yoga poses. Every little bit adds up and some exercise is better than no exercise at all.
Another option is to do your workouts early in the morning – before anything has the opportunity to crop up and prevent you from sticking to your exercise plan. At first, it might be all you can do to get out of bed when the alarm goes off. Give it some time and you may find that you begin to look forward to your early morning exercise sessions. They help you get focused before you begin your day.
What If You Don’t Like to Work Out?
While I enjoy the feelings I get when I work out (both mental and physical), I also know people who look forward to going to the gym about as much as they look forward to going to the dentist. What can you do if you don’t like to work out?
Find activities that keep you busy physically that you enjoy. Maybe you like to garden or you have fun playing with your kids in the yard. Running on a treadmill, lifting weights, and other dedicated “exercises” aren’t the only way to stay fit. As long as you’re getting your heart rate up a bit, you’re still getting the same benefits.
Plus, by doing things you love, you’re more inclined to make physical activity a habit. And this is one habit that can improve your life in many areas, even in your business.