Many business owners who have owned and operated their businesses for more than five years and have over five employees are over the age of 40. As a business owner, you likely spend most of your days either in your office, on the road or in someone else’s office. Many of the general health issues become more of a concern as you age. However, it does not have to be so as the overwhelming majority of those issues stem from overuse or lack of use. This is why exercise and goals are so important.
Too little and too much exercise causes problems.
If you sit at your desk much of the day snacking on chips or pretzels and exercising little, you are depriving your body of the nutrition it needs and the movement it craves. Have you ever seen someone be completely immobilized and noticed how their health plummeted? I have. Your lymphatic system supports your immune system but you need to move for it to work well. If you stop moving, it’s functioning drastically decreases. Conversely, if you engage in a four-mile daily run for eight years on concrete, you beat up your joints, subject your muscles to pounding and wear them down. Balance is the key.
It is never too late for you to start an exercise program. The health benefits are well worth the consistent effort. In addition to losing that gut or being able to walk up the stairs without getting winded, you will strengthen your immune system (and get sick less often), increase your stamina, and feel more energetic, all of which will help you run your business better.
Regular exercise doesn’t need to be a chore.
When you are just starting out, and if you are just not athletic, regular exercise may feel like a chore. To combat this, you need to make exercise a priority by focusing on why you need to do it and the myriad benefits, such as those noted above. You can track your progress in a notebook to help you be aware of the small wins that help you stay focused and committed. If you are new to a regular exercise schedule, surround yourself with like-minded people to boost your commitment and focus. Working out with a friend or family member can provide the companion you need or, if you are highly competitive, provide the competitive spark you need to keep going. Participating in a boot camp, a running club or on an intramural team will help you look forward to your workout…and may make it feel less like a workout.
You need exercise goals.
Any exercise regime needs health goals or fitness goals to be successful and yours is no different. Is your goal to maintain, like mine is? If so, you need to add some variety to what you do, otherwise the maintenance can become boring. For example, I get outdoor workout suggestions from Men’s Fitness in the summer or I’ll include a few P90X sessions in the colder months. In the summer, I’ll also run football stadium steps or do a track workout.
Your fitness goal may be as simple as running a five minute or faster pace every week or just getting in 30 minutes of continuous exercise 4 days a week. Your weekly or monthly goal will help you maintain your commitment. With all goals, small goals help you build to large goals because success builds upon success and increases your confidence. You observe this in your business. The same applies to your health. An end goal of “I will run 40 minutes” or “I will lose 30 pounds” may be too daunting if that’s your only goal.
When you break your big goal into more achievable and trackable components, you’ll feel like you are making progress, which will help you feel good and want to continue. Use the same approach that you use to break stretch business goals down into achievable components. For example, that 30 lb. weight loss goal could be broken down into a 2 lb. weight loss each week. The 40 minute running goal could be broken down into 5 minutes of increased running time (vs. walking) every two weeks.
Remember, if you must fight yourself to achieve your health and fitness goals, you WILL lose. You must structure your health and fitness routine and set goals in such a way that your habits support your goal achievement. If you must constantly make decisions regarding if, when and how you’ll exercise, all that mind noise will stress your will power and lead to your defeat. Structure your goal achievement so that you RECOGNIZE and build on your success. Set goals, create daily habits, minimize the decision making needed and watch yourself move toward achieving your health and fitness goals.