A commitment to an active, healthy lifestyle begins with your mind. If your gym membership is getting dusty, it may be your mindset that is preventing you from getting your heart rate up and maximizing your potential.
To help find the motivation, identify why you want to change your lifestyle, whether it’s feeling good or an attractive physique. If you’re career-driven, work can become an exercise deterrent (otherwise known as an “excuse”), but exercise can ultimately become a career tool, or your why. Change your mindset from “I have no time to work out because of long hours” to “workouts improve my ability to work at my highest potential.”
The Harvard Business Review describes it this way: “Regular exercise is part of your job.“ It boosts your brainpower with cognitive benefits, like improved concentration, prolonged mental stamina and lower stress. The perception that exercise is a luxury, rather than a necessity, for working (and living) better holds you back from professionally performing at your highest level. Check out the following ways exercise can work alongside other professional assets to further cultivate your best self in the office.
1. Mental Drag
Dragging yourself out of bed and into the office doesn’t have to be your norm. Start by fueling your body with exercise to jump-start your day and produce better focus for hours. Follow in the footsteps of successful early risers Michelle Obama, Jack Dorsey and Ursula Burns who reserve this time of day to energize with exercise. Post-work workouts are just as beneficial, especially for separating the workday from the evening. A workout buddy or group exercise (like joining a recreational sport in the community) can help you commit to your workout and stay accountable. The socialization outside of the office also enhances overall satisfaction that leads into happier workdays.
2. Mental Blocks and Frustration
The mind and body are closely connected, which means your emotions and ways of thinking can affect your physical health, and vice versa. In other words, exercise boosts your brainpower. It improves your attention, concentration, memory, accuracy, information processing and decision making. Cardio in particular gives you a mental advantage by enhancing the brain with extra blood pumping and key hormones like dopamine and norepinephrine. Engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week to have a clearer and sharper mental state.
3. Crankiness and Irritableness
Your mood is just as important to your work as your skill set and work ethic. An irritable mood may be the root of tension between you and colleagues. Without even realizing, you may be moving throughout the day with a chip on your shoulder that damages your relationships. Exercises, like swimming, stimulate mood-boosting chemicals for anxiety and stress management. In addition to better brain health, swimming laps in your local gym is meditative and can reduce depressive symptoms. Elevate your mood through exercise to produce a positive outlook and transform the way you operate and interact in the office.
4. Struggling Creativity
If your creativity has been suffering, head outdoors, suggests The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Nature enables you to unleash yourself from everyday constraints, such as working in a closed-in office space or constant digital consumption. Exploring and interacting with nature clears your head. The fresh air and peacefulness are mentally restorative and open opportunities for creative thinking that is free of distractions. Rather than working overtime, become a weekend warrior who connects with the outdoors as a way to avoid burnout, overcome mental fatigue and ultimately reset before Monday.
Start this New Year with committing yourself to a healthier lifestyle and make sure you include a exercise routine that fits your needs. It will help you be a more production worker and but most of all it will help you have a healthier, happier and fulfilled life! Don’t just look healthy be healthy!