SUCCESS STORIES / AUG. 04, 2014
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How to use Exercise to Increase Your Success

It’s no secret that regular exercise is good for your health. Staying in good shape can help you prevent a host of chronic diseases, avoid weight gain and improve your mood, among many other benefits.

In the workplace, there’s another big benefit to exercise: It can help you be more successful in your career. Regular exercisers say their workout routines help them be more disciplined and focused, and even when they replace some of their work day with a workout, they’re still able to get more done throughout the day.

Any type of exercise is better than none, but in case you want more guidance, here are a few ways to use exercise to increase your success.

Cardio is great -- but don’t overlook resistance training. When time is limited, don’t spend all of your time running, cycling or swimming. Instead, carve out at least part of your workout time for lifting weights, using resistance bands or doing some other type of strength training. Strength training, as it turns out, has a host of benefits for the career-minded. For one, it can improve your overall cognitive function, including improving your memory. For another, moderate-intensity resistance training has been found to reduce anxiety -- something that tends to plague the busy entrepreneur or business professional who’s trying to get ahead. 

Set goals. Setting a goal to run a certain number of miles per week or to lift a certain amount of weight by a particular date is a healthy practice in itself -- but those goals have another benefit: they tend to translate over into other aspects of your life. Setting goals is a practice in perseverance and discipline, and when you start setting them for your workouts, you might find that you start setting them for your work life as well. Without goals at work, you might spend most of your time spinning your wheels with no clear direction.

Use the time to think. Whether you’re a professional with a packed schedule or an entrepreneur who’s juggling a lot of balls, your schedule can tend to be all-consuming. When you take on too much, you often neglect to give yourself the down time necessary for coming up with new ideas. Your workouts, on the other hand, can be quite peaceful, with no ability to geek out on your smartphone or make copious notes. Make a concerted effort to keep your mind uncluttered while you work out. Simply hash out ideas or to let your mind wander -- it can help you gain focus and clarity when you get back to work.

Use exercise as bonding time. In many instances, the more successful people in the workplace are those who take time out for exercise. Look around you and try to determine whether that’s the case for your workplace. If so, it could be a perfect opportunity to make some workplace allies. Consider starting an informal workout group during your lunch hours, or gather a few co workers for an after-work bike ride or jog. You never know when having the more successful co workers as allies will come to benefit you, whether it’s through a recommendation for a promotion, learning new skills from those successful people, or something else.

When times get tough and you find yourself losing motivation for your workouts, turn back to these tips to remind you that you’re not just improving your body, but your entire career outlook as well.

 

Image courtesy Nate Bolt, Flickr

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