Last year, I read an amazing book called How Remarkable Women Lead. There are a lot of tidbits in that book that are extremely valuable (for men AND women, by the way), but there was one striking common denominator that many of the highlighted women spoke about. All of the women noted that in times of great stress, one of the things they turned to was exercise. 

Given that it’s the start of a new year, a lot of people are making their new year’s resolutions, and for many, exercise will be at the top of that list. But for business owners in particular, I believe strongly that exercise needs to become an essential part of the weekly routine. 

Understand that when I say “exercise” I’m not necessarily talking about training for an Iron Man race or participating in boot camp or crossfit classes every day. I think that a lot of people immediately intimidate themselves out of exercising because they imagine routines that are far too strenuous to keep up. When I say exercise, I mean dedicating anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour 3-5 days a week on exercise, and mixing the types of exercise up. As an example, my current exercise routine involves a mixture of weight training, Zumba, Tai Chi, Yoga, and aerobic walking. 

With all of that being said, here are five reasons why business owners (in my opinion) need to exercise regularly. 

  1. Stress Relief – Exercise has a way of taking your mind off of what might be stressing you out. Yoga can add an element of meditation, while more aerobic exercise helps you work off that extra energy.
  2. Endorphins – Exercise releases endorphins, which we all need in our brains to trigger happy thoughts. Some might call this an “exercise high.”
  3. Away from the computer – It’s easy to stay seated all day long, especially in front of a computer, when you have a lot of work to do. Working some exercise into your routine ensures that your eyes, shoulders, and neck get a break and that your legs get a work-out!
  4. Sitting all day may kill you – No, really. Check out this July 2012 article from CNN. Why risk it?
  5. Alone time – Exercising ensures you a little bit of time to yourself. Walking, jogging, the elliptical, or the treadmill are all great places to plug in your favorite music or podcast and take your mind off of what might be on your plate. Exercise can get you out of the office, away from your email, and away from your phone (no one wants to talk to someone who’s panting). 

Of course, the most obvious reason to build some exercise time into your schedule is that you will feel incredibly rewarded as you go along. Why is that? You are showing a commitment to yourself and you are prioritizing yourself, even if it’s for just a tiny block of time during your workday. 

So, what do you say? Are you going to add more exercise to your schedule in 2013? What kinds of exercise will you be adding to your routine? I’d love to hear from you!