Do the benefits of exercise never cease?
We already know that regularly engaging in physical activity can make you feel younger, improve your fitness, and even increase your lifespan. But the perks of maintaining a fitness routine extend beyond your physique.
In fact, exercise can play a powerful role in determining your success as an entrepreneur. Here's how.
It boosts your energy.
There's a reason entrepreneurs are often stereotyped as night owls who spend 20 hours a day glued to their computers, missing out on important social moments while they devote their all to building a business--in a lot of cases, this is entirely accurate. What do entrepreneurs need to counter the demands of their stressful schedules? Energy, and lots of it. Maintaining a regular exercise routine has been shown to increase both mental and physical energy levels on a daily basis. The key word here is "routine". In order to reap the energy-boosting benefits of exercise, you have to work out on a consistent basis.
It improves your cognitive abilities.
Anyone who's trying to start and run a new business will need to draw heavily on their cognitive capabilities and mental faculties in order to advance toward their goals--and exercise can help you do just that. Studies have found that exercise can boost cognitive performance in a number of ways, from increasing alertness to improving concentration, focus, and memory, speeding up the rate at which you're capable of learning new things, and boosting mental stamina. There's even some evidence that people who exercise literally have more brain cells than people who don't.
It sparks your creativity.
Studies consistently find that even low-key exercise (such as taking a stroll outside) can boost creative thinking and improve your ability to solve problems in unique ways. Given that entrepreneurship sometimes feels like putting out one fire after another, the ability to come up with creative solutions to the challenges of running a business is truly invaluable. And depending on your industry, working out might even help you come up with innovative new product ideas. (For example, I'm betting that whoever invented lifting belts for weightlifters wasn't sedentary--they were probably in the gym when they identified the need for a stabilizing force for the lower back!)
It makes you more productive.
When you consider that regular exercise can increase your energy, cognitive performance, and creativity, it's probably not surprising that it's also been linked to higher productivity. In fact, people who work out consistently demonstrate better time management skills and faster turnaround times when it comes to completing projects. This is probably because exercise makes you more focused and puts you in a more positive state of mind--both factors that can improve work performance.
It increases your confidence.
Exercise can improve your relationship to yourself and your belief in your ability to set and achieve both short- and long-term goals. In the process, regular exercise has been linked to increases in confidence, independence, and self-assurance. These qualities are absolutely essential for any entrepreneur who doesn't want to get chewed up and spit out by the cutthroat world of startups.
It keeps stress in check.
If you exercise for no other reason, make it this one. Being an entrepreneur is inherently stressful, and it's critical to have plenty of coping mechanisms in place in order to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing along with your business. Exercising on a regular basis is one of the best ways to keep stress in check so it doesn't destroy your mental health or lead to the dreaded burn out.
From banishing stress to skyrocketing your creativity and productivity, a commitment to regular exercise can give you the edge you need to continue thriving in the world of entrepreneurship.