Life-Work Balance – Ep. 7: Exercise regularly to feel at your best
(Yes. That’s me in a spinning class in the picture!)
In the past few weeks, I introduced you to my concept of Life-Work Balance where life should come first, then you can focus on your business. When your body and mind are aligned and they play together, your well-being, energy, focus, and productivity improve. This can lead to a healthier you and also a more successful (and profitable) business owner. This can be achieved by following very simple principles every day.
I also shared my personal story (HERE) to give you a better idea about why I’m very passionate about helping change the lives of others as well.
Life-Work Balance is about taking care of yourself (your personal life) before taking care of others and before taking care of your professional life.
Think about this for a moment: Medical bills as an entrepreneur can be very high and, if you don’t take care of yourself, this will affect your health. As a consequence, the money you will spend will be for medical bills, NOT for your business. On the other side, by investing in your health you will gain focus, confidence and ultimately success.
I’ll start with a question – How many of you exercise regularly? Just be honest, I’m not here to judge!
I have to admit, I hate to work out. I always had a love-hate relationship with exercise. I understand the benefits (regular exercise can prevent health conditions and diseases, improve mood and energy) and I’ve always been exercising. But I always tried to find excuses to skip an indoor cycling class or lifting weights at the gym. The most common was “I’m too busy today, I really don’t have time to exercise.” I know many of us have that excuse always ready, don’t we?
And not only that. Sometimes, the biggest barriers are mental. It might be a lack of self-confidence that keeps us from taking positive steps. It could be a lack of motivation or getting discouraged that makes us give up.
So, we need to stop making all those excuses! The best way to stick with a consistent workout plan is to create a schedule and add it to your calendar. When you decide that Tuesday evenings are a good time for kickboxing classes, for instance, you should commit. Every single week.
Imagine this: You have a very important meeting with a client and you wouldn’t miss it for anything, right? But what happens when we decide to try a new aerobics class or go for a run? Sometimes things get in the way and we cancel the class or postpone the run. This is wrong! As much as your meeting is important, the same should apply to your exercise. Block time for your wellness routines on your calendar just as you would an important meeting and show up for them with the same dedication and commitment.
My suggestion is also to extend these new habits and, basically, change of lifestyle to your entire family, and especially your children. Prevention is better than a cure! They will understand the benefits of living a healthier life, and they will grow up really loving their bodies to become better people.
My workout schedule is very simple: it includes two group classes (indoor cycling on Wednesdays and a boot camp on Saturdays) and different types of exercise on the other days such as power walks, jogging, strength training.
And, if I don’t have much time for the gym, then I work out at home in one of our spare bedrooms with the help of a great app: the Nike+ Training App. This amazing app is loaded with more than 100 workout programs from expert trainers and athletes that target different areas of your body. Each program includes instructional videos, you can choose the duration and create a personalized plan. There’s also a fun and engaging component: you can share your workout and pictures with friends and get inspired by others using the app, and you create your own community inside the app.
Here are some tips on how to add regular exercise to your daily routine:
Hire a personal trainer
I’m very lucky to have a husband who is a personal trainer and a group class instructor. This is a huge help (and motivation factor) for my exercise programs. Whether you are just starting out or you have been working out for a while, hiring a personal trainer will help you a lot for several reasons.
If you are new to exercise, you might need help with a routine that includes cardio, weight training, stretching, but also help with the right exercise, which weights to use, how many reps or how many sets to do and you may give up before you even start. So this is where a personal trainer can come handy because he or she will customize a program for you.
The average recommendation for adults is 150 minutes a week, or 30 minutes a day for 5 days. But you can just start with short sessions of 15-20 minute bursts of activity and increase the time every week. You can discuss your needs and your goals with your trainer and he or she will customize a plan.
Maybe it’s time to add a new workout or a different routine to your program such as circuit training or strength training that can challenge your body and your mind. Maybe it’s time to try new types of equipment. Again, this is where a professional personal trainer can come handy and help you figure out which one is best for you.
It doesn’t have to be only working out at the gym
In fact, you can get creative with your exercise. What about dancing, running, biking, swimming, rollerblading, kayaking, martial arts, or zumba which is very popular nowadays? If you have kids, make it a fun activity for the entire family: go ski or ice skating, for instance. Sometimes I play hide and seek with my cat and I chase her all over the house!
Focus on the benefits of exercise
Research shows that when you exercise you are healthier, you sleep better, you have more energy, and you are more productive. Besides helping your heart and muscles become stronger and better, I want to explain a couple of ways exercise has an incredibly positive effect on your life thanks to neurotransmitters in the brain.
First of all, exercise is a stress reliever: it increases concentrations of norepinephrine, which is a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. So, when you work out your mental tension decreases.
Second, research has also shown that exercise releases endorphins and serotonin, which boost your happy and feel-good feelings. Serotonin is a brain chemical that helps move messages throughout the nervous system. This neurotransmitter performs many functions, including regulating mood, appetite and our sleep-wake cycle.
Exercise helps stimulate the production of serotonin in the brain and the best way to do so is by walking, running, biking, swimming, and other cardiovascular activities.
Third (and I think this is the actually the most mind-blowing effect), when you engage in sustained aerobic exercise, such as running, you enhance neurogenesis. Yes, you can create new neurons in the hippocampus, which is a region in your brain important for learning, memory, and emotions.
Once you know and think about all these benefits I’m sure you will want to find the time to exercise!
I love the concept of rewarding yourself! It’s part of Principle 4 in my Life-Work balance program (Love Yourself) and we’ll be talking about this specific topic next week. For now, remember this: reward yourself when you accomplish anything, including a fitness goal! You made it, you’re very proud of yourself, and you deserve a reward. This could be a free afternoon, time for yourself, maybe a little spa visit, or manicure, a little gift. Whatever you feel like doing (or not doing!) and feel better about yourself. It doesn’t have to be a big reward, it can just be something that makes you feel great!
Need help with your life-work balance? Let’s chat! When you schedule your FREE Clarity Call HERE we’ll chat on a video call for 60 minutes and we can come up with a quick action plan for your life and career 🙂
Holistic Life Coach, Brain Fitness Coach, and Life-Work Balance Strategist for busy professionals. I blend well-being principles with neuroscience, biohacking, positive psychology, stress management, and mindfulness techniques to implement effective behavior changes.