While the lure of “being your own boss” is often why many people enter into entrepreneurship, it quickly becomes clear that running your own business is not easy. It’s all consuming most of the time and can easily take a toll on your personal life and even your health.
Barrie is a fantastic city known for its expanding entrepreneurial community, many of whom are members at the Barrie Athletic Club. We’ve seen numerous of these local entrepreneurs thrive and succeed because they’ve learned to integrate physical fitness into their day, which has in turn helped them become better entrepreneurs. Let us share with you five reasons why physical fitness can benefit entrepreneurs….
1. Gives You A Competitive Edge
Exercise has been proven to build character traits that win in the business world, such as self-discipline, dedication and efficiency. In fact, research from the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland, which examined the bodies and minds of twins, found that the sedentary twins had lower endurance capacities, higher body fat percentages, and signs of insulin resistance, but also discovered that the twins’ brains were unalike. The active twins had significantly more grey matter than the sedentary twins. The study further went on to show that the twins who exercised actually earned significantly more income than their sedentary siblings. So if you hadn’t considered the benefits that exercise gives to your brain, and ultimately your competitive edge, now is the time to take note!
2. Empowers Work-Life Balance
You might think we’re joking here. How is it possible that adding one more thing to your list of to-dos could possibly enable better work-life balance? There are actually two key ways exercise can help with work-life balance, based on this research:
While it might not seem like it as you push through some fierce cardio or increase your weights on the bench press, exercising helps to lower your anxiety level. It’s a physiological response that your body naturally has when you exercise. By reducing anxiety, you will feel more calm and able to respond better to personal and professional tasks.
Exercise has a way of clearing the mind. When your mind is clear, you can boost your confidence to accomplish more difficult tasks. That self-efficacy leads to better performance at work and confidence we can keep pace with our home life.
3. Relieves Stress
There’s no need to sugar coat it — being an entrepreneur is stressful! The health effects of stress are far reaching and linked to many conditions and that’s why it’s important to learn strategies for stress release. Here at the Barrie Athletic Club, we have many members who are entrepreneurs, and we see them at our facility at different points in the day coming in looking stressed with their smartphone in hand. But when they leave, it’s as if a whole new person is walking out the door with a smile on their face, chatting with other members and more ‘pep in their step’. The reason: exercise reduces stress hormones and gives you that natural high by producing endorphins that make you feel happier and calmer. As every entrepreneur knows, your mood and stress level can have a huge impact on focus and performance, so we think this is one of the most significant reasons to add fitness to your life.
4. Increases Energy
As an entrepreneur, you need the energy to manage staff, customers, planning, and pretty much anything else that is thrown your way. The inability to do so could cost your business money. So if you’re sitting at your desk with heavy eyes, constant yawns, but a mountain of work to get through, don’t reach for an energy drink. Instead, take a quick workout break. A 2008 study published in the Journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that inactive individuals who complained of fatigue experienced an energy increase of up to 20 percent by participating in physical activity. That boost could be exactly what your bottom-line needed.
5. Improves Mental Clarity
As an entrepreneur, you need to be on your game 24/7, and that means solving problems, finding solutions and putting out fires at the drop of a hat. The answer to making this happen doesn’t lie in more coffee or constant checks of your smartphone. There actually is a direct connection between exercise and problem-solving capabilities and creativity. So no matter how busy or stuck on a task you might be, try going for a workout, a walk or even power yoga class and then watch what happens to your mind when you return. Even a short 20-30 minute workout can improve your cognitive performance. At the Barrie Athletic Club, we have the perfect solution to boost your afternoon mental game — our lunchtime fitness classes. Although some are shorter in duration, they are big on benefits — for both yourself and your business.
Given these five benefits, and likely many others, it’s clear that entrepreneurs should be making time to fit exercise into their lives. Think of it as not only working on yourself, but also working on your business.