It’s so easy to put off exercising. Long work hours, chores to do at home, friends and family to see … hitting the gym ends up being yet another forgotten item on an overwhelming to-do list.
After all, “I don’t have time” seems like a decent enough excuse. You’ve got other priorities. You might not even like exercise much. And those folks who do spend an hour or two every day walking, cycling or working out? They’re clearly not very focused on their work or the other “should do”s in their life.
The thing is, if you’re busy, you can’t afford not to exercise.
Exercise Gives You More Energy
Maybe you’re put off exercising because you’re worried about being tired. If you hit the gym at lunch, you’ll be exhausted all afternoon, won’t you?
Actually, probably not. Sure, if you overdo things and push yourself too hard, you might feel tired – but moderate exercise will get your blood pumping and leave you more alert and energetic.
If you’re struggling with just getting through the day, then try taking some exercise. Sitting at the computer for ten hours straight might feel productive (“I got into work at six this morning…”) but you’re probably slowing down, making mistakes and missing out on creative insights.
Exercise Lowers Your Stress Levels
It’s hard to work when you’re feeling anxious, upset or angry. Yes, you might be able to pour some of that negative energy into your work (“I’m going to get this $%”& report done!”) – but overall, you’re going to find that it’s hard to concentrate.
Being stressed out isn’t good for you or for the people around you. How often have you snapped at a colleague or family member, just because you were in a bad mood? How often have you had to spend time patching up that relationship?
When you’re stressed, you might feel that the last thing you want to do is summon up the motivation to get some exercise. Get moving anyway. Once you’ve been jogging or cycling for a few minutes, you’ll find the stress melting away – almost miraculously. Exercising has a proven effect on our mental state, so much so that doctors now “prescribe” exercise for milder cases of depression.
Exercise Prevents Health Problems
How much work are you going to get done if you land up in a hospital bed? A lot of health conditions – especially long term, chronic ones – are heavily linked to lifestyle factors. If you’re unfit and rarely or never exercise, you’re putting yourself at greater risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer.
If you have a piece of equipment at work that’s vital to your job, you take good care of it: you wouldn’t be able to do any work at all if it broke down. Do you take similarly good care of your body?
Along with a healthy diet and getting enough sleep, exercising is hugely important in staying healthy – or even getting back to a greater state of health.
Exercise Can Help You Think
I’ll bet that, at some point in your life, you’ve had the experience of a great idea coming to you when you’re not at your desk. Perhaps you were in the shower, out walking, chilling out with friends, or doing something else totally unrelated to your work.
When you’re busy, it’s tempting to keep on trying to do your work. That makes it hard to think about it in a creative way, or with new perspective. Getting away from your desk and heading to the gym (or pool or running track) gives you the “head space” which you need in order to come up with new ideas.
You might even want to keep a notebook or voice recorder to hand, so that you can jot your ideas down.
So … have you really got the time not to exercise? What could you do today to be more active?
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