This has been one of my favorite topics for quite some time. There are numerous reasons to stay physically fit including but not limited to: improvement of your physical health, improvement of your mental health, and even finding happiness and fulfillment in your life. By just finding 30 minutes a day to exercise, you can make a wide variety of positive changes in your professional life as well.
Lower Stress Levels
Many times, a higher level of professional success can lead to more stress. There are more pressures to adhere to more deadlines, meet more clients, more rules to follow, not to mention more employees to supervise. These professional stressors can leak into your personal life like a virus. This can cause friction in your home life, your marriage, and your relationships with other family members and friends. Exercise is a proven method to tame some of these stressors and prevent them from ruling your life.
Daily exercise releases endorphins – your natural happy feel-good neurochemical. The release of these endorphins produces feelings of euphoria most commonly compared to those seen when the body is receiving morphine. The release of specific chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin can lead to stress relief and an overall improvement in mood. Regular exercise can also diminish anxiety and feelings of depression.
Regular exercise can not only improve your sleep quality by increasing the time spent in deep sleep which is the most physically restorative sleep phase. If you aren’t exercising frequently and you find yourself chronically waking up feeling exhausted, it may be that you’re not getting enough time in deep sleep. Exercise helps with the amount of sleep you’re getting as well. By spending more time in deep sleep, you’re also spending more time asleep. All of the energy you’re expending by exercising helps quiet your mind and make you feel tired enough so that you’re ready to sleep at the end of the day.
When you’re finally getting enough sleep and have an improved mood from exercising consistently, you will be pleasantly surprised by how much energy you will suddenly have. As humans with busy lives, we have a tendency to abuse things like caffeine to keep energy levels high enough to make it through the day. The problems generated through this aren’t just limited to a caffeine dependency or caffeine addiction, it also makes it harder for us to fall asleep at night which leads to sleeping issues. With regular exercise, your body begins to get a natural boost of energy making things like caffeine less necessary in your daily life which will improve your overall life a great deal.
With sudden professional success many times results in feelings of being overwhelmed, un-focuses, and burned out. Which shouldn’t be a total shock. You’re spending more time at work, working on work related tasks which makes you feel unbalanced in your personal life and like you’re losing the time to spend on the things you once enjoyed. You start forgetting things like meeting dates or times, peoples’ names, standard operating procedures, etc. then you are losing cognitive abilities. This can be repaired and prevented through regular exercise. I, personally, have found that after running 4 miles, I get a sense of mental clarity and exhilaration that I cannot find by any other means. It is where I get my best thought process and creative intuition that leads to marvelous entries such as these. When I don’t exercise enough, I find that my creativity suffers, as does my work output and overall life.
Lower Blood Pressure
Suffering from high blood pressure? Could you also stand to lose about thirty pounds? If your waist band is a little tight and so are the arteries in your neck, physical fitness may be able to help this too. Maintaining a healthy weight as you age is a very important way to control your blood pressure. Regular physical activity (especially cardiovascular activity) strengthens your heart. A stronger heart pumps more blood with less effort which decreases the force placed on your arteries to pump blood through them.
You have less body fat, less anxiety, less stress (one of the leading killers in the United States), lower blood pressure, more energy, better sleep, a stronger heart, stronger bones, and improved muscle tone and strength. Of course, you are going to live longer. When you treat your body the way it deserves to be treated (eating the right things, exercising frequently, growing your mind through reading, etc.) it will return the favor by giving you a long and enjoyable life.
What Kinds of Exercise Should I Do?
If you work a primarily sedentary job and you don’t spend much time working out now, you should consult with your physician prior to starting any new exercise program. If you begin to use a professional personal trainer (which can be very beneficial), most professionals will have you fill out a Health History Questionnaire or a PARQ to ascertain if you need a doctor’s written permission to begin an exercise program. If you’re wanting to just incorporate a simple 30 minutes a day for exercise and you’re not sure where to start, here’s a helpful list of activities that will keep you moving:
- Landscaping: gardening, mowing the lawn, weed eating, pulling weeds, mulching, cleaning out the gutters, raking leaves, spreading fertilizer.
- Household chores: vacuuming, scrubbing floors, sweeping, dusting, just stay moving and cleaning.
- Cardiovascular Exercising: running, jogging, bicycling, Zumba, dancing, walking, stair climbing
- Weight lifting, Crossfit, power lifting.
Sports: Basketball, soccer, baseball/softball, kickball, dodgeball, football, volleyball, etc.
- Other activities: Swimming, yoga, Pilates, dog walking, boxing, rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, kickboxing, martial arts, etc.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity most days of the week.