If you don’t exercise regularly, it’s probably because you “don’t have time.” In reality we all have time (24 hours to be precise), but those who omit exercise do so because they believe there are more pressing or important things to be accomplished in the 30-60 minutes they would spend exercising. The health benefits of regular exercise are compelling and well documented. What if exercise also provided benefits to your performance as a sales professional and to your ability to balance work and family? That was precisely the finding of a recent study at Saint Leo University, as shared by Russell Clayton in his recent HBR blog, How Regular Exercise Helps You Balance Work and Family.
Regular exercise reduces stress, and lower stress makes us more productive. As Clayton stated, “A reduction in stress is tantamount to an expansion of time.” Exercise also increases self-efficacy – our sense of being capable of taking on challenges with success. People with high self-efficacy are less intimidated by (and more likely to take on) difficult tasks or situations. Psychologically, the emotional lift provided by exercise lasts long beyond the time spent exercising.
If time constraints are holding you back from regular exercise, consider when in your day it would work best:
- Morning – Exercise prior to starting the workday so there’s no chance of it getting pushed out of your schedule later in the day.
- Lunch – Use exercise as an invigorating break to recharge and refocus during your workday.
- Evening – Use after-work exercise as a means to rewind and recalibrate in the transition between your professional and home life.
If a lack of time is your barrier to exercise, a change in perspective will be essential to make it a habit in your daily life. We should never think of exercise as a selfish indulgence that comes at the expense of time/attention at work or home, but as an investment to improve our presence and contribution to both.