A perfect combination
Robert Winston said in a recent interview the single best thing people can do to improve their lives and health is exercise.

I am often disappointed by the number of out of shape executives I see.

I am being a little harsh because anecdotally I expect healthier people, committed to looking after themselves, will be disproportionately represented in the upper echelons of management.

I know many executives who compete successfully in Ironman’s, Multisport, Marathon’s etc., I feel such activity provides an insight to what got them there.

Seeing 30 year olds struggling to walk up hills or run after their kid’s makes me wonder “Why make this a battle for the rest of your life? Why set a poor example for your family to follow?”

A quick internet search turned a credible list of 21 proven benefits (I have issue with those items starting “may…”but I guess it’s still proven that it ‘may ‘) those I think most relevant in a leadership context are ( I can attest the last 5):

  • New brain cell development
  • Cognitive and mental function enhancement
  • Prevention of cardiovascular disease
  • Stress management
  • Strong immune system
  • Blood pressure lowering
  • Cholesterol lowering effect

So my question is why wouldn’t you?

I’m not saying everyone should start training for the New York Marathon (there’s better ones!), an hour or two a week of serious exercise is all that is needed.

Everyone can do something. For example I can only run infrequently as I have broken both ankles and legs in the past but I can still meet my goal of the last 16 years (running 10kms in fewer minutes than my age in years).

Some options:

  • Mountain bike
  • Swim
  • Walk (as in WALK not stroll)
  • Cycle/ indoor trainer
  • Play lunchtime soccer or other sports
  • Refereeing

I realise a high percentage of my readership know/do all of this, so here’s some thoughts on what could be done in the workplace:

Company sports teams/ running or cycling groups at lunchtime (for bigger cities)

  • Paying entry for selected events (declare this on an annual basis for simplicity)
  • Bike storage facilities that cost almost as much per bike as per car (kidding, but you get my point)
  • A room with exercise equipment. or partnering with a local gym ( I hate gyms but many love them)
  • Team events where “I’m scared of…” “I can’t.. “ is countered by “We’ll support you and help you.”(And quell all the show offs – they are counterproductive)
  • Recognising best effort not best ’performance’
  • Decent changing rooms and showers

    And the best method of all

    Leading by example

8 Replies to “Execu-cise”

  1. Dear Richard,

    Three sentences really impressed me. Why wouldn’t you,with broken ankles and legs, you can run 10kms in fewer minutes than you age in years and recognizing best efforts than performance.I always use to think about human nature and strongly believe that human by nature is lazy and selfish. And we try to overcome our weakness by education, experience and exposure throughout our lives. It is a journey to overcome our weaknesses and it is not sure that we will overcome that. So, what is more important? Circumstances and situations are not in your controls, outcome is not in your control. So what is in your control? It is your effort.Therefore, I believe that, we should encourage the efforts taken in odds positions. By knowing the benefits of exercise why don’t we do? It is our inertia. I call it behavioral and attitudinal inertia.Just imagine, you have to die within few days and you have a lot of pending responsibilities towards your family. Just feel your thoughts and imaginations. you try to complete everything in just seconds.
    I think, completeness and success are the main obstacle to change.When we are physically fit,we don’t think to be more fit and we take this fitness guarantee for whole life. When we get success every time, we never think to face failure and we become complacent and think that we will never fail. So,sometimes I imagine, incompleteness and failure ensure greater success and fulfillment in life.

  2. Dear Ajay, thank you again for reflecting on this post. I agree, complacency and completeness are an enemy to be aware off. Life should be the ‘excuse’ to live not age our excuse to die. Richard

  3. Excellent Richard….and damn. I’m running on the spot while I’m typing this…seriously though…true, true, true.

    Note to self: Get back to the gym….now !!!

  4. Hi Richard
    Yes exercise is really important and my experience working in Aged Care the residents who maintained a level of involvement in exercise were much better in the long run. I also think it benefits cognitive development rather than just doing word quizzes etc,this is only my observation.
    Those people whose mtor skills started to decline found it difficult to sustain teir involement in activities they previously enjoyed. Just some thoughts from across the Tasman,with a female PM eh? Nothing new to Kiwis though !
    Have a warm? weekend

  5. Hi Karen, that’s a good point – this applies through all ages. i often comment that you can see (future) poorly or healthy older people at quite a young age. Yes PM news was a big one. will be over your way on Monday – but there and back in the day sorry! Richard

  6. Hi Richard,
    I am new to your blog. You have some great posts 🙂
    Here, as a fitness pro, I can’t help but mention that some form of resistance training is a must, especially as you age… Would do your ankles a lot of good it you could cut back on the running a bit and work with weights or even your own bodyweight (pushups,squats, etc.)

    It would protect your muscles from age-related muscle loss, strengthen your bones and ramp up your metabolism…


    1. Welcome Deep, many thanks for your words of encouragement and your training advice. I agree that ‘core exercises’ are very beneficial. squats are great, push-ups i backed off after a spontaneous pneumothorax 6 years ago (no it is true, i am still alive!). I look forward to having you in this community. Warm regards Richard.

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