Neglecting our health on the road to success is like throwing money down the drain and expecting to get rich. It just isn’t going to happen. Forgoing proper diet and sleep in the name of grinding out one more hour is a recipe for disaster, often because doing so makes you crash into a wall a lot sooner. However, there is one way to make sure we’re performing at our prime optimum levels, though, and that is through exercising.
Here are 7 ways everyone (especially entrepreneurs) will benefit from regular exercise:
1. You’ll Be Like CEO’s
To succeed as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to model your life after other successful entrepreneurs and highly successful CEO’s. What’s more, a lot of this has to do with their exercise regimens and daily workouts. For example:
- Nancy Pelosi power walks for 45 minutes every morning
- The former chief of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Frits van Paasschen, runs 10 miles a day
- Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat does the Spartacus Workout
- Condoleezza Rice performs 40 minutes of cardio on a treadmill or an elliptical trainer
- Virgin mogul Sir Richard Branson swims, does Yoga, rock climbs, runs, and lifts weights
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2. Exercising Increases Productivity and Energy—a Lot
As lone-wolf entrepreneurs, it seems like we’ve made a business out of getting more work done in less time. And why shouldn’t we do that? Life is short. We don’t have time to sit in front of computers for 14 hours a day. Gorgeous sunsets over crisp fall evenings are out there waiting for us. Sadly, after a long day of working and grinding, a lot of us don’t have the energy to admire anything around us. We turn into grumpy, stressed-out negative Nancys.
This is why exercising is a phenomenon among entrepreneurs. Exercise is directly responsible for boosting brain function and slowing down neuron loss. There’s a reason Sir Richard Branson, after working out, has said that exercising gives him an additional 4 hours of productivity.
Additionally, a lot of research shows that exercising boosts your mood and increases your baseline energy levels within a short period of time. This allows you to get things done and feel energized to complete tasks.
3. It Will Boost Your Metabolism
Sometimes you might not have the time (or the will) to go to a gym. This is understandable, and is one of the reasons why indoor cycling is phenomenal for keeping you in shape. One of the biggest benefits come from being able to read, catch up on your industry, host a meeting with your secretary or assistant, all while getting in a valuable exercise.
Plus, it’s easier for you to perform high intensity intervals (HIIT), which have been proven to boost your metabolism rate. This is important: a higher metabolism rate burns more fat, even hours after you stop exercising. What’s more, a higher metabolism rate allows you to eat more brain food without gaining weight. And brain food gives you a higher business efficiency.
4. You’ll Meet New People
Often, the way we get through a workout (no matter the intensity) shows a lot about our character. When you meet new people, whether or not they can help your business directly, why not work out with them? You two will have a much more energizing and deeper communication than you would over coffee. This can include going for a morning run, sparring together, going for a swim, or hitting iron. By going to a gym or partaking in various fitness activities, you’re bound to meet like-minded people. Making new friends (and even acquaintances) who challenge our thought systems is crucial for growth.
5. You’ll Feel on Top of the World
How you feel during your personal life translates to how you feel in your business life. Is exercise responsible for helping you lose weight? Build muscle? Improve your self-esteem? Make you a sexier You in the mirror? You bet.
Aerobic exercise has proven to increase our hippocampus’s volume. The hippocampus is responsible for our memory and learning skills. In addition, regular exercise—as little as 15 minutes every other day—decreases inflammation in our bodies and brains, keeping us (and our minds) young.
6. You’ll Overcome any Roadblock
Physical exercise improves our self-control, decision-making, and abilities to learn. All these qualities are crucial for running a successful grind to the top of the leader board. I don’t know a single leader who doesn’t have phenomenal decision-making skills. Do you?
When we exercise (or simply move), our heart rate and blood flow increase, oxygenating our brain. An oxygenated brain is healthier and better able to perform executive functions, more easily than a stagnant laze-around-all-day brain.
A brain that can overcome the “lazy effect” is more likely to succeed as a down-and-dirty entrepreneur. It is a fact that no sane human dares take on the challenges we do. John Carlton (one of the leading entrepreneur freelance copywriting masters alive) wrote this in his book Entrepreneur’s Guide To Getting Your Sh** Together: “Entrepreneurs run on different engines than the majority of the population. Instead of avoiding risk and uncertainty, we eat it for breakfast. We don’t work for The Man…. We exist outside most of the rules everyone else plays by, and often we end up inventing new rules altogether. Where safety is primary for most folks, we seek adventure and fulfillment first.”
It’s also a fact that we, as entrepreneurs, are often more successful than average nine-to-fivers for a reason: our minds are stronger. We are able to overcome not only more challenging life aspects, but business challenges as well. Our world is not for everybody. However, exercising keeps our reality in check so we can stick through the hard stuff.
BONUS: Exercise thwarts depression. When you’re depressed, you don’t feel like doing anything. Everything is bleak, grey, and disastrous. There’s no point in even trying. Exercise gets rid of that nagging “I can’t do it” feeling.
7. Exercise Keeps You Alive
Do you want cancer? Heart disease? Diabetes? How about Alzheimer’s? If you answered no to any of those, you just may develop them. If you don’t work out regularly.
Here’s why: You and I both know the countless hours we sacrifice each night to get the job done. The grind we put down every single day to make this “thing” in our head a reality. Well, doing that tends to mess you up, especially when you don’t take care of yourself. How many all-nighters have you pulled? Can you remember how much coffee you have guzzled after midnight, in an effort to finish one more task? How many breakfasts did you skip because you didn’t have enough time?
All of that leads to stress and anxiety. Coupled with lack of sleep, exercise, and proper nutrition, you become a ticking time-bomb. (Nobody wants to be around you when you’re snarling and frothing at the mouth in the gripping heat of a stress attack.) No amount of money or dream-catching fantasy can save you then.
We, as entrepreneurs, do what we do because we must. Average people don’t have exercise routines. We, as entrepreneurs, are above average. Entrepreneurs are allergic to average. Imagine this: Everything you’re doing to get further in your career is another heavy load piled on top of your heart. By the time you’re in your forties and fifties, you’re collapsing in your bathroom clutching your chest, another victim of a heart attack.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to do my warm-up.