I’ve spent the last 40 years exercising. Well, not perpetually. But I’ve been vigilant about allocating a little time each day for a workout, with varying intensity. For half of those 40 years, the need to exercise stemmed from a struggle with my weight. As I zeroed in on a weight that felt permissible, I began to use exercise as a means to maintain that weight. Today, I continue to work out in order to sustain my wholesome diet, which is by no means short on richness and decadence. Alas, a balance has been achieved.
This being said, I’ve always been struck by how the busiest people around me still find time to exercise. Having become exceedingly busy myself, it’s gotten harder to sneak in even a brief workout. Up until just recently, I thought others brainwashed themselves like I did about exercise, but a recent epiphany at our inaugural Real Talk, Real Food roundtable revised my outlook. During this intimate dinner discussion about Authenticity, one of our esteemed guests mentioned fitness as one of her 3 top values. As I chewed on this during the days following the roundtable, I began to question if I had been exercising more for my body or for my mind. In further meditation, I realize exercise is vital for all aspects of well-being, and is directly linked to a successful life and career.
The following are 4 examples that back up the notion of exercise as a core value in one’s life being directly linked to one’s success. In my estimation, living by these exercise virtues will eradicate the burden associated with the act of working out, while revolutionizing your mindset in relation to the purpose of exercise.
Exercise Is the Best “Medicine”
In addition to controlling body weight, exercise is the most effective intervention for most of our common ailments, perpetual and potential. Have you heard of another single “medication” that can improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, prevent pain and disability, avert progression to dementia and Alzheimer’s, prevent diabetes, thwart anxiety and depression, eliminate fatigue, and lower the risk of death all at the same time? And at no cost? Remember: The road to success is an ailment-free one. Check out the viral video 23 and ½ Hours to better understand the studies:
Grant Yourself Immunity
All studies indicate that even a modest exercise regimen can play as much of a role in strengthening your immune system as proper diet and good hygiene. Building your immune system, aside from equaling less suffering from illnesses, also equals less unsolicited downtime in your career. Find out more from this Harvard Medical School article.
The Brain Reason
Many of us do our best thinking while walking (sound familiar?). After reading the book Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lerher, I now understand the main reason why. Walking can equal meditation: the body starts moving, the senses take in varying environmental cues, and the mind starts to think in a freshly constructive manner. Set yourself up for creative success by planning a workout, as simple as a stroll, after a creative planning session. For more insight, link to this article from Business Insider.
Believe it or not, most of us who exercise regularly don’t jump out of bed each morning excited to hit the gym. Of course, some days we do, but much of the time, it takes huge dedication and discipline. Once mastered, this discipline carries over to different aspects of life, including workplace disciplines. Getting into this rhythm is another recipe for success.
A Word on Exercising Itself
Good news, folks….There’s a huge difference between the amount of exercise we do to improve sports performance and the amount that leads to better health. It boils down to a practical investment of 20–30 minutes per day. We waste that much time watching one TV sitcom! Link here for a glimpse into my routine, and here for my take on the perks of good posture. For further investigation, check out this must-see TED Talk by Amy Cuddy that even enters body language into the equation.