There is growing scientific evidence that physical fitness is good for you in ways beyond the obvious benefits of being able to run for the bus. As in nearly every aspect of life, there is no one-size-fits-all and for each of the points below you will think of people who may seem to be obvious exceptions. However I would maintain, that for each of these exceptions, they would improve their overall performance if they improved their fitness.
That said, everyone has their own point of diminishing return and each of us must find our own balance so take this as food for thought…
1.Your physical fitness is your basis for your performance.
Most of us are all too aware of the negative impact on our morale, wellbeing or performance when we are physically ill, injured or otherwise suffering. Even unhealthy people will feel even less well, more unmotivated and incapable when they are not at their normal physical level. How can we not expect to feel and perform better when we are fitter and healthier? People will spend lots of money tuning their car engines so that their car performs better, but they seem unaware that they can tune their own performance too!
2. Take care of your assets.
Muscular contractions cause release of myokines that help the immune system and neurogenesis.
Whatever level you are at, your capabilities are your marketable assets. If you’re sick, burnt out, or otherwise lacking in energy you cannot perform at your best – suddenly, one day you’ll be worth less than you were, or less than the guy whose career was always a bit behind yours because he spent time working out. And when your working life is over, do you want a long and healthy retirement?
3. Sport is a learning environment.
It allows us to develop soft skills, techniques and practices that are useful in a business environment such as Goal setting, Planning, Team skills etc
Sport is unforgiving, in that you get the results of your efforts fairly immediately. That provides a good feedback system for improvement.
It allows us to grow self-awareness, practice “the inner game”, and deal with our own negative self-talk.
4. Increase your cognitive skills.
Good Cardiovascular fitness increases the blood and oxygen flow to the brain, thus increasing availability of “food for thought”
Exercise increases production of nerve growth factors that help neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity, possibly improving short and long term memory capacity.
Increasing chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain such as dopamine, glutamate, norepinephrine, and serotonin that help modulate stress and improve cognition.
5. Grow your psychological resilience.
Regular muscular or physical stress raises the body’s ability to deal with cortisol, which in turn helps raise the threshold for coping with all stress.
6. Increase your capacity (for everything).
Faster, harder, longer, more…
If you want to drive up a steep hill, you need a big engine.
If you have a big engine, your cruising speed is higher and more comfortable.
Physical fitness enables power and endurance.
7. Be Happy.
Health and fitness feeds our feeling of well-being, increases positive stress and decreases negative stress. Exercising stimulates hormone release that supports this, helps regulate other control functions (appetite, sleep patterns etc), and have the by product of happiness (endorphins & anandamide).
8. Boost your self esteem.
Sport provides a fertile ground for growing success. Results come quickly and provide motivation for continued investment. Hitting your sporting and exercise goals is the easiest way to turn your self-perception positive. This overflows into every area of your life.
9. Generate a positive aura.
Achieve half of the above and you’ll be a role model.
10. Nobody is going to do it for you.
There’s a lot you can outsource, but not “being healthy”.
How does your employer support your fitness at work?
Thanks for reading!