I was cycling around Richmond Park recently with my partner, it was a sunny afternoon, the deer eyed us with curiosity as we cycled past. As well as being enjoyable, exercise and team sports can massively help our career in many ways; here are 5 of them…
1 Exercise sharpens the mind (as well as the muscles)
Exercise not only tones muscles, but improves brain power. The Montreal Heart Institute’s study in 2012 showed that aerobic exercise increased cognitive function. This is because exercise increases blood flow to your brain, meaning a run might be just what you need before a busy day at work or a brainstorming session to get your creative juices flowing. Exercise can also provide the space to think and clear the mind. One of my clients, a keen cyclist, likens it to a church or cathedral, a calm space where she can clear her mind and find solutions.
2 Exercise produces endorphins
Exercise benefits us by reducing stress, helping us sleep better and feel great. These natural highs keep us positive, happy and more able to deal with the challenges of our career. And when you feel good it’s easy to do well. Getting in a workout before or during the workday can allow you to approach your work with a calmer mind-set and an ability to make good, rational business decisions, rather than being led by your emotions. When I was working on a complex project, fitting in yoga helped me stay calm and make the decisions needed to get the project competed.
3 Sport creates opportunity
Playing sport expands our network, a vital part of career success in itself. And when you play sport you build a bond, you know a lot about people without them having to say anything. One friend, for example, met his business partner when they were on the same football team.
A lot of people too get jobs because of conversations about sport at interviews or discussions of earlier performances on sports teams e.g. one accountant Kurt I worked with got his first job because he was on several sports teams and the partner who interviewed him at the accounting firm knew he would bring clients to the firm.
4. Boost your confidence
Whether going through a rough patch in your job or building a business, even the smallest fitness win can help you gain the confidence you need to achieve larger goals in your career & business. Having a great workout translates into every area of your life, making you feel more accomplished at the end of the day about everything that you do… When one of my clients Dana was having a tough time at work, regularly training for and running half marathons increased her confidence. This confidence boost then helped her keep going at work and succeed there too.
5 Sport provides lessons
Many of the traits needed to succeed in sports are similar to those needed to succeed in business, including goal-setting and discipline. Training for a fitness challenge such as a triathlon can help both corporates and entrepreneurs re-learn the importance of understanding what they want to get out of a goal and determination. Achieving your goals leads too many rewards, completing triathlons helped my client Mark grow his business. By training when he didn’t want to train, Mark developed more focus, finding an extra gear when he needed to has brought him a deeper level of commitment to his business goals too.
Happy New Year! Enjoy the exercise and the sport, making it a priority can bring benefits to your career as well as your health…