Did you know that a lot of highly successful leaders in the world keep some form of strict, disciplined workout regimen? Some enjoy playing basketball, like former US president Barak Obama, while others have personal trainers who coach and help push them to their limits. The main reason these men and women stay fit is to stay healthy and perform better, but recent research has identified other benefits of regular exercise – even some unexpected ones.
It is not Only for the Body
The benefits of exercise for the body are obvious, but science has uncovered many positive effects of working out for our mind and our emotions. These benefits have an important effect on our ability to influence others and the quality of our leadership. Here are six benefits from exercising regularly and how those benefits enhance your leadership abilities.
- Discipline. Dedicating an hour of the day to exercise and following a certain (often uncomfortable) routine is discipline. This practice carries over to other areas of our life. As you lead a more disciplined life, you model this healthy and productive lifestyle for others as you lead by example.
- Energy. The chemical substances produced by exercise will boost your energy for the rest of the day. Imagine the effects of that extra energy in your ability to cast vision, motivate people, and accomplish your goals.
- Creativity. Did you know that exercise boosts creativity? Research shows your creative brain cells are highly active in the hours after a strong work out session. I always write for the blog a couple hours after my daily workout to leverage that creativity boost.
- Self-confidence. Like every goal achieved, increased fitness and weight loss will give a boost to your self-confidence and self-image, which in turn, affects how you lead others.
- Longevity. I exercise to lose weight and stay fit, but the main reason behind this discipline is because I want to live a long and healthy life, so I can serve my Lord and Savior longer.
- Inspiration. Some people like working out by themselves, while others prefer a public place. For me personally, watching others work out around me at the gym inspires me to push harder, run faster, or lift heavier. I am sure others are inspired by my efforts, too, creating a cycle of inspiration.
A Matter of Stewardship
Our sixth core value (Faithful Stewardship) states: God looks for men and women who are faithful stewards of all that God has entrusted to them. This may be easier to see when applied to our material resources or time, but it also applies to our physical body. We live in a world of manufactured foods and sedentary lifestyles. As visionary leaders, it is possible to get into an unhealthy routine of overworking and underexercising.
If our bodies are “talents” entrusted to us by God, our responsibility is to be proactive and take responsibility for our fitness, make our bodies grow healthy, fit, and strong, and then present them to our God with pride and joy, fit and slim, strong and healthy.