Our CEO Jason is always working out. Even though his schedule is slammed, almost every day he finds time to run or go to the gym. I asked him, “Other than the obvious health benefits, why do you work out so much?”
“Working out saved my life,” he said. “Literally. I was in a really bad car accident five years ago. If I hadn’t been really fit, I would not have survived.”
Obviously, there is no way to predict when trauma will happen, but exercising keeps the body in a condition that can be the difference in the Emergency Room. There are also more subtle ways exercising saves your life when you are a super-busy, stressed-out business owner.
Tracking and Setting Goals to Improve Performance
When I start an exercise program, my gym gives me an evaluation form, where I can measure and track my progress. Filling out those tracking sheets shows me that I need to work on my flexibility. That I need to work harder to get that one-mile run under seven minutes. Setting clear goals for myself in exercise often translates to my work, too. When I measure where my campaigns and product deliverables are today, I can better determine what I need to do in the next month to get them where I want them to be.
Exercise Away That 2:30 Feeling
It’s 4pm and my energy is lagging. I’ve been sitting at my desk all day—answering emails, writing up project plans, touching base with clients. I still have a mountain of tasks to complete, plus a presentation to give at a tech meet-up later tonight. I’m clearly in need of an energy boost, but I don’t want to slug another coffee. And I don’t like Red Bull. Taking a thirty-minute or hour break to go outside for a run is the best (and cheapest!) way to wake myself up. Exercising in the doldrums of the afternoon is my lifehack for being more productive because it gives me a mental boost, relaxes my tensed up body and releases endorphins.
Pain Can Be a Good Thing
Isn’t weird that sometimes having sore muscles feels good? Whenever I wake up after running an extra mile or two the day before, it hurts, yes, but it also reminds me that I challenged myself. I take pride in that. Sometimes when I’m working late at night on a project that’s got to be finished by the morning, it really is painful. I want to sleep. I want to relax. I don’t want to be working so much. But I always remember how good it feels in the morning to have completed that project; how nice it is when customers complement my hard work. Being able to find joy in the most painful parts of your business will make you happier in the long run.
When you run or swim or do yoga, one of the most important tasks is to regulate the breath with the movements of the body. Having a regular and deep inhale/exhale rhythm keeps blood flowing to the body’s most important parts: the brain, the heart, the legs. Focusing on the breath when you exercise is another way to help compartmentalize tasks. When you run a business, there are a zillion things that can happen. Being able to focus intently on one project can ensure that you accomplish what you set out to do that day.
It Doubles As Business Development
Going for a long run is one of the best ways for entrepreneurs and business owners to brainstorm new business ideas. Stuck in a rut on a product development problem? Try a long walk or bike ride to free up the mind and open you to new ideas.
It Can Save Your Life
Running a business is hard. Really hard. You are definitely under the kind of long-term stress that leads to health problems like high blood pressure. If you can find time for regular exercise—and you can! just ask Jason—it will lower your stress levels, saving yourself and your business in the long-run.
Join the conversation!
What’s your workout routine? Do you have other methods besides exercise that keep your business running smoothly?