Join a Gym, Be a Better Boss?
There is no shortage of reasons to exercise. From the ability to keep squeezing into your favorite pants to wide ranging health benefits and even claims that breaking a sweat helps keep your brain in shape, the less active among us are routinely urged to laced up our sneakers and hit the gym. But if you haven't been persuaded by the standard reasons to exercise, perhaps a new study can provide you with some entrepreneur-appropriate motivation.
The research out of Northern Illinois University found that bosses who exercise less are more likely to be nasty and abusive to their employees, venting their stress on their team members rather than on the treadmill or in the weight room. Why is it that fitter managers are less likely to put down and stress out their employees? Eric Casaburi, a certified personal trainer and CEO of RetroFitness, explains:
It's not exactly that bad behavior and a lack of exercise are linked; it's built-up stress and a lack of an outlet for it that creates the bad behavior. A lot of managers get caught up in small and big stresses at their office and get the kick-the-dog syndrome. They end up looking for an outlet for that stress and often it's one of their employees. Where as, if they would have had a good work out or a two- or three-mile run, that becomes their outlet, instead of the employee. That negative energy dissipates with exercise because that exercise is serving as stress relief.
You're busy, we know, so how much gym time is required to channel your frustration in a less destructive way? Surprisingly little, according to the researchers. "Only moderate levels of exercise were necessary to minimize abusive supervision, such as one to two days of exercise per week, and the type of exercise seemed to make little difference," read the release announcing the study.
If you've been meaning to start an exercise program but your insane business-owner's schedule has been getting in the way, Casaburi has some advice. First, don't beat yourself up about when or what type of exercise you do. "Anytime is a good time for exercise when stress relief is the result," he says. Second, start thinking of your exercise goals in the same strategic way you view other business priorities, as essential for the long-term, smooth functioning of your business.
"Treat your health like your business. If you treat yourself and your health like you do the business, you’ll give it the respect it needs," concludes Casaburi.
What do you do to blow off steam at our outside of work?
JESSICA STILLMAN | Columnist
Jessica Stillman is a freelance writer based in London with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist.