Robert Winston said in a recent interview the single best thing people can do to improve their lives and health is exercise.
I am often disappointed by the number of out of shape executives I see.
I am being a little harsh because anecdotally I expect healthier people, committed to looking after themselves, will be disproportionately represented in the upper echelons of management.
I know many executives who compete successfully in Ironman’s, Multisport, Marathon’s etc., I feel such activity provides an insight to what got them there.
Seeing 30 year olds struggling to walk up hills or run after their kid’s makes me wonder “Why make this a battle for the rest of your life? Why set a poor example for your family to follow?”
A quick internet search turned a credible list of 21 proven benefits (I have issue with those items starting “may…”but I guess it’s still proven that it ‘may ‘) those I think most relevant in a leadership context are ( I can attest the last 5):
- New brain cell development
- Cognitive and mental function enhancement
- Prevention of cardiovascular disease
- Stress management
- Strong immune system
- Blood pressure lowering
- Cholesterol lowering effect
So my question is why wouldn’t you?
I’m not saying everyone should start training for the New York Marathon (there’s better ones!), an hour or two a week of serious exercise is all that is needed.
Everyone can do something. For example I can only run infrequently as I have broken both ankles and legs in the past but I can still meet my goal of the last 16 years (running 10kms in fewer minutes than my age in years).
- Mountain bike
- Walk (as in WALK not stroll)
- Cycle/ indoor trainer
- Play lunchtime soccer or other sports
I realise a high percentage of my readership know/do all of this, so here’s some thoughts on what could be done in the workplace:
Company sports teams/ running or cycling groups at lunchtime (for bigger cities)
- Paying entry for selected events (declare this on an annual basis for simplicity)
- Bike storage facilities that cost almost as much per bike as per car (kidding, but you get my point)
- A room with exercise equipment. or partnering with a local gym ( I hate gyms but many love them)
- Team events where “I’m scared of…” “I can’t.. “ is countered by “We’ll support you and help you.”(And quell all the show offs – they are counterproductive)
- Recognising best effort not best ’performance’
- Decent changing rooms and showers
And the best method of all
Leading by example