Whenever I meet people who are overweight, stressed, unfit and suffering from an array of health problems, I always make a point of asking how they got that way. Of course politeness prevents me from being quite so blunt, so my more sensitive question is “Do you make time for exercise?”
I don’t ask to be intrusive or condescending or because I want to make them clients (although it would definitely be in their best interest!) but because I am genuinely puzzled that they don’t realise the difference exercise could make to their lives.
Nearly always, the answer to my question is no, and the reason for it is their busy corporate lifestyle. I’m sorry, but this particular excuse, answer, whatever you want to call it, simply does not sit right with me. Let me ask a few loaded questions to explain why, particularly if this all sounds very familiar to you…
How often do you waste half an hour of potentially productive time trying to work through a throbbing headache? You know the one, where your eyes go blurry and it feels like someone is repeatedly putting a hammer to your temples. How often do you get tired mid-afternoon and count down the hours until you can go home, only to realise four hours later that you haven’t really done much work, and now need to stay back an extra two hours to make up for your lack of productivity?
How often do you take sick days? Why don’t you turn those eight hours of missed work into eight hours of feel good exercise? Do that, and there’s a good chance you’ll never need to take a sick day in the first place.
How often do you see the fit, lean guy come into work in the morning looking happy, cheerful and bright-eyed, getting through the day with ease, and wonder how he does it? There is no secret. The only difference between you and him is that he makes the time for exercise!
So many people say to me, “I’m just too tired to get up any earlier”. But isn’t your health and wellbeing more important than a sleep in? It only takes 30 minutes a day, not necessarily in the morning, to make a big difference to your quality of life.
When I put this to people they umm and ahh over it and then realise that I’m dead right. But more than that, what I try to make clear to them, is that taking half an hour or more out of each day to exercise will actually leave them feeling less tired in the short and long term.
Exercise not only combats fatigue, leaving you more energised, it also helps you think more clearly and ensures better productivity throughout the day. After exercising you will naturally choose healthier foods, feel happier, look better, get sick less… do I need to go on?! Because I could go on and on and on and take up almost the entire magazine, talking about the benefits of exercise.
Some of my fittest and most regular clients are corporate people whose jobs are endlessly demanding. They make exercise a priority in their life and they reap the benefits. They are the people you see bouncing into work and experiencing success in their role, moving up the corporate ladder easily and effortlessly.
They function on a higher and more productive level, probably getting through the same tasks as you in half the time. Not only are they successful in their workplace, but because they make time for exercise, they also have the energy to cook healthy meals, go out socially, date, think creatively, laugh and even stop to enjoy nature and everything else this amazing world has to offer.
So I’m going to let you in on a secret. Do not let work rule your life – make exercise your friend. Just try it! Start small, it might mean a 20 minute walk in your lunch break and then gradually two gym sessions a week before work. Plan a realistic training program and STICK TO IT for four weeks, then reassess. I bet you’ll wish you’d read this article six months ago, or even six years ago!
After four weeks of incorporating exercise into your life, the new routine will stick, you’ll start getting through your workload quicker and avoid that afternoon fatigue. You’ll see the fit, lean guy dancing his way out of work and you’ll be able to pull your belt in another notch and dance out of work with him – an hour earlier than usual no less!
Stay posted for next week’s article, which will give you a simple training schedule to follow, easy changes to make to your diet, and tips to stay healthy throughout the working day. I promise it will all be easier to commit to than you ever thought possible. And in turn, will make your corporate desk-sitting lifestyle easier, more enjoyable and more productive!