When it comes to work/life balance, one of the things you hear recommended quite often is committing to a regular exercise routine. Personally, I commit to exercising five days per week. There are times when I miss the mark due to travel; however, I hit this mark each week a lot more than I miss it. And I’ve noticed a lot of benefits. It does help me manage my stress for effectively; it does make me feel better; I believe it keeps my immune system strong because I very seldom fall ill; and I feel more energetic and productive.
With that being said, though, can physical fitness really make us a better leader? According to Roger Dean Duncan in his article, Fitness For Duty: Exercise Can Make You A Better Leader, it can. But how so? For starters, leadership requires a number of certain skills and traits for us to be effective in leading and influencing others. One of those required skills is high cognitive functioning. According to an article in Psychology Today, physical activity is one of the best ways to improve our cognitive abilities. Think about the amount of decision making, problem solving, and strategic work that’s required of you as a leader. It’s a lot. Quite simply, those leaders who commit to regular physical activity have a leg up on those who choose not to.
If you don’t feel like you have the time to commit to a regular exercise routine, you may want to think otherwise. In his article, Duncan also lays out these additional five things, as leaders, we should consider.
- Exercise can give you a competitive advantage
- Working out is positively correlated with increases in earned income
- Finding the time to do it isn’t nearly as hard as some of us make it out to be
- If you select something you enjoy, you’re much more likely to stick with it
- All it takes is 5-10 minutes per day to get started, and to increase your motivation to do it
Rodger Dean Duncan is the bestselling author of CHANGE-friendly LEADERSHIP: How to Transform Good Intentions into Great Performance. You can follow him on Twitter @DoctorDuncan