How can you escape thinking about your own fitness, when everywhere you turn someone is talking about the upcoming Games?
Peak Performance – Make Sure to Take Breaks
The Psychological Review published the results of a study in May 2011 which demonstrated that world-class violinists practised for four hours intensively followed by long breaks, while lower-achieving violinists were practising for seven hours straight.
Yes, I know corporate life doesn’t allow us the luxury of “long” breaks, but the point is the same. We need to have variety in our life – exercise and other personal diversions – to allow us to be the best at our game at work. This is where business meets fitness.
When we are fit, we think clearly. After having exercised (even a simple walk), you’re more inclined to be in a positive frame of mind and able to be creative and solve problems (and there’s no shortage of those!) Ever notice that when you don’t take breaks (including holidays), both your enthusiasm and patience at work start to wane?
Physical Exercise – The Perfect Remedy for Stress Relief
What amazed me is that under all this pressure, this guy seemed to be more interested in his handicap and which golf courses were near the client sites we were visiting than in growing the business. What I then realised was that this was his way of dealing with stress. And it did work brilliantly. He was always calm and strategic regardless of how difficult the circumstances were.
Golf may not be your game – it’s certainly not mine. But find that sport outside of work that you enjoy. In fact “sport” is probably overstating the case. Simply walking or even gardening can be extremely beneficial in increasing your activity level and benefiting from that natural “high”. Think about what you enjoy doing. If you can combine that interest with the interest of your significant other, even better. (I’m a firm believer in “couples that play together stay together”).
Work and Life – A Winning Combination to a Successful Career
I’m sure the other benefit to my outings to the health club with my son was the ability to switch off from work and think about him. What was happening in his life? At home he competed for attention with his siblings so trying to engage in a conversation was virtually impossible – he normally responded to any kind of interaction with grunting sounds! So it was the physical exercise combined with being “present” in my personal life that energised me for work the next day. This is why it’s so crazy that we often refer to “conflict” when talking about work and life. Having the two environments – both work and life – is actually what can create that balance, resulting in mental fitness and preparing us for success in our careers.
Sound counterintuitive? Think about it a minute. I know that if I didn’t have a family, for example, I would have burned-out on work years ago! My family keeps me grounded. They give me perspective. When I’m enjoying my personal life, my professional life benefits as I can bring more fun and energy to the workplace.
Being fit – both mentally and physically – is not only good for you personally, but also critically important to being the best you can be at work. Remember, therefore, to include both physical exercise & personal time in your strategic career plan!