When most people think about the benefits of losing weight or gaining muscle, the first thoughts that often come to mind are improved health and looking and feeling better physically. Admittedly, these are certainly some very appealing consequences of working out regularly, but being fit can also make you better in business. At least it has helped some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs reach what some consider almost impossible levels.
Take Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group, for instance. His current net worth according to Forbes is $4.9 billion, and in his Why I wake up early blog post, he shares how he gets up at five o’clock every morning to “do some exercise and spend time with my family, which puts me in a great mind frame before getting down to business.”
And in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Panera Bread Co. founder and CEO Ron Shaich admitted that he hasn’t always been an avid exerciser, but that has changed as he’s gotten older “both so that he could be active with his son and daughter…and so he could keep up mentally and physically with the demands of a growing business.” And his reported salary is somewhere around $3 million per year.
There are many other highly successful entrepreneurs who have made it a point to make exercise a part of their regular routine, including billionaires such as Warren Buffett and famous talk show host and television producer Oprah Winfrey. Ultimately, this helps support the notion that being fit provides a benefit not only personally, but professionally as well. But how?
How Fitness Helps
For starters, when you engage in regular physical exercise, you tend to have a higher level of physical health. This means that you’re able to take better care of your work-related obligations without being sidelined by serious medical conditions and diseases commonly associated with being not-so-fit, some of which the Mayo Clinic lists as stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
You have more energy when you are fit too, which makes it easier to make it through the long days typically associated with owning your own business. Plus, you still have more than enough left over to have some fun too. Granted, it may seem difficult to start an exercise program if you’re feeling tired all of the time, but remember that doing so decreases these feelings of fatigue over time and winds up leaving you feeling revved up and ready to go!
Additionally, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, having a regular exercise routine also helps to reduce the stress and anxiety that is rather common when it comes to running your own small business. This is primarily because working up a sweat causes your body to release endorphins, or “feel good” hormones. This can be extremely helpful when you feel like you’re struggling and want a little pick-me-up that won’t leave you with the negative side effects that a lot of anti-anxiety prescription medications can.
You’ll even notice that you sleep better when you are more physically active throughout the day which can help improve your focus, memory, performance, and creativity—all factors that can make you more efficient (and successful) as an entrepreneur. So…are you ready to start your own success-enhancing fitness routine?
Creating Your Own Success-Enhancing Fitness Routine
Ideally, you want to get in some form of physical exercise 30-60 minutes a day. But if you’re not currently exercising, just thinking of fitting in this amount of time in is enough to stop you before you even get started. Therefore, you’re better off aiming for smaller, more manageable amounts before building up to these higher numbers. Just like I did.
When I first started my daily exercise program, I focused on completing just five minutes of physical activity a day. Then, once that felt like habit and I was comfortable, I kicked it up to 10. Slowly, I worked to increase that amount and now I am exercising roughly 45 minutes per day.
The benefit of going slow is that it easier to make your new routine a habit without feeling overwhelmed by making a major change in your life. I don’t know about you, but in the past when I just jumped in and started working out 30-45 minutes daily, I inevitably gave up on my new routine within weeks, if not days because I felt too far out of my comfort zone.
Another way to make and keep fitness as part of your regular routine is to choose activities that you enjoy. If you don’t, every day will feel like a struggle and your likelihood of sticking with it is pretty slim. So, think about the things you like to do that help you work up a sweat and add as many of those into your fitness program as you can. Also, mix things up every so often by doing something different or going outside your comfort zone so you don’t get bored and tempted to give up.
Undoubtedly, being fit does offer personal benefits, but it provides professional ones too. This means that you’ll be growing your bank account right along with your muscles…making it a win-win situation for sure!
I’m always interested in learning other small business owners’ thoughts on relevant topics and issues, so if you have a comment or unique article idea, feel free to contact me at [email protected] (put “Businessing Magazine” in the subject line, please). If I use it, it’s a free link to your website!