Your mind is your most valuable asset as an entrepreneur. While staying updated on the newest trends of your niche or reading literature to keep your mind stimulated, often what goes most neglected is our own bodies, the vessel and means by which we execute our ambitions.
Staying fit is absolutely crucial for high-performance. But did you know that exercise helps increase brain function? Numerous studies, such as this one,(scahperd.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Does_Physical_Activity_Influence_Academic_Performance.pdf), draw a definitive link between the frequency of exercise and the level of academic achievement. The more we exercise, the better our minds function.
Of course, with all the deadlines and ambitions entrepreneurs encounter, it seems counter-intuitive to “waste” our limited time going to the gym. However, a healthy, active lifestyle actually increases the amount of work we can do.
Now, don’t hire a personal trainer just yet. Try to incorporate walking into your daily regimen or as part of your normally sedentary breaks. Stanford University’s 2014 study (news.stanford.edu/news/2014/april/walking-vs-sitting-042414.html) illustrates a link between walking and creativity:
“A person walking indoors – on a treadmill in a room facing a blank wall – or walking outdoors in the fresh air produced twice as many creative responses compared to a person sitting down, one of the experiments found.”
In terms of exercise, walking is one of the least challenging activities. And unlike a gym membership, it is completely free! Try to combine fitness with your daily tasks. Even something as minute as parking as far as possible from the entrance of a supermarket can cram in a small enough of excersise to keep you going.
A Good Night’s Rest
Another topic to consider in emphasizing our healthy body/healthy mind analysis is sleep. Are you getting enough? A study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656292/) shows a significant loss of cognitive function—anything from answering emails to remember what accounts are due—when sleep is foregone. You may find that an all-nighter actually is less efficient than getting a good night’s rest and resolving problems when you are in a more awake state.
What are the Big Boys Up To?
Of course, you can be more ambitious in regards to exercise if you choose. Gym memberships are relatively inexpensive and offer not only health benefits, but a different environment to stimulate your creativity. Exercise is cumulative to your energy level. The more you exercise, the more strain and pressure your body can take to push itself towards accomplishing its goals. And let’s not forget a runner’s high, which can give you a burst of euphoria that mimics the effects of drugs without the crash and comedowns.
Taking a cue from big business, we can look to leading companies like Google and Apple, both of which feature exercise facilities on their campuses (www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5S3meosuUw). If they’re doing it, so should you!
Getting that Glow
Finally, if you need purely superficial reasons to stay in shape, exercise helps sculpt your body and increases your self-confidence (www.athleticinsight.com/Vol7Iss4/Selfesteem.htm). As a fringe benefit, having your body in shape helps sell your business. Overweight, chain-smoking, never-seen-a-sunrise bodies don’t project the youthful buoyancy that can give you negotiating power by having your thumb on the pulse of the latest trends. Look at the CEO of most successful start-ups and try to find the body types that fit the “obese” category. I think you’ll be hard pressed to find many examples.