What do Cher, Warren Buffet, and OKCupid founder, Christian Rudder, all have in common? While you might have guessed that they’re professionals at the top of their game, it’s not the only similarity. The truth is that they all have an even bigger commonality among them: they all work out, and they all consider it integral to their success. They aren’t the only ones, either. Entrepreneurs like Richard Branson (who’s started over 400 companies) have long known that regular physical activity, be it running, lifting, or yoga, can provide you with up to four extra hours of productivity every day. Even President Barack Obama – a slacker until he began running three miles a day as a young man — to this day makes time for 45 minute workouts before assuming his duties. Working hard and working out go hand-in-hand, and here are five reasons why:
1. You’ll benefit from schedules and goals.
It is no secret that Rhodes Scholars are amongst the most accomplished, organized, and successful people in the world. Why? The Rhodes Scholar program at Oxford’s University takes the sports accomplishments of their candidates’ as seriously as they take the academic ones.
Graduates of the University have well balanced lives, being accomplished both in the intellect and in the physical. They are good habit machines!
If you’re not already setting schedules for yourself, working out is a great way to build that habit. Set time aside and give yourself goals you’re actively working towards, whether it be losing weight or being able to run a certain distance. Practicing discipline as you workout and start seeing results will help you carry that into the office, creating professional checkpoints to work towards. Just don’t get frustrated if you don’t get the results you want right away. Results can take time. If you’re looking for help, I go into this deeper in my book, Strong is the New Skinny.
2. It’ll build your brain and help break bad habits.
After a long day of work, it’s tempting to crash in front of the TV and eat or drink your frustrations away. You worked hard and you may think you deserve it now, but have you asked yourself what you deserve in the long run? It can be hard to connect with your deeper needs when you’re always working or distracted. Personally, I am susceptible to a lack of focus that makes me jump from one thing to another. I get easily distracted and fall prey to a lack of discipline.
That’s one of the best things about exercise: it puts your mind in contact with your body and makes them whole. Taking those few minutes out of your day to work out lets you do a rundown on what you really need, allows you to collect your thoughts, and instills a sense of direction instead of letting you indulge yourself. It’s really the best way to break any destructive habits that stand in your way. It allows all the pressures of responsibility, and the desire for escape that goes with it, to slide away, replacing them with a one-on-one conversation with yourself.
Knowledge is power, and knowing what you need makes you smarter, more resilient, and more able to create better habits moving forward.