This blog post is co-authored with Andy Core, an award-winning thought leader on increasing employee engagement, productivity, and wellness motivation.
As National Work and Family Month draws to a close, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind you to be physically active. You may be thinking, “What does exercise have to do with work-life balance?” As Russell has written about in the Harvard Business Review (and as was mentioned here in the Huffington Post), exercise is a great way to help achieve work-life balance. But how does adding another item (i.e., exercise) to your already full plate help you balance work and life? We’re glad you asked!
Exercise helps us have a better work-life balance by 1) reducing our stress, 2) increasing our self-efficacy, and 3) increasing our endurance. First, you probably already know by now, but exercise is a great way of reducing stress. Just a few minutes of jogging, resistance training, or group exercise class can be enough to take your mind off of the stressors in your life and reduce the level of cortisol in your body. Secondly, when we exercise we increase our levels of self-efficacy. This means that exercise instills in us that “can do” feeling that gives us the confidence to push through when times get touch. Finally, exercise helps us gain physical and mental endurance that allows us to persevere through a long workday and still have enough energy left when we arrive home to our families.
If you are already exercising on a regular basis…kudos! On the other hand, if you’re not currently exercising, it is our hope that the brief evidence we presented above is a kick-start towards adding physical activity into your weekly routine. With that in mind, employ the following three ideas to ensure exercise is a meaningful and consistent part of your life.
History is a great place to look to find what works. When you look back to your exercise past, ask yourself, “What helped me stay motivated?” That is a different question than reflecting on why you exercised. Those reasons often change, but what helped you stay motivated can usually be recreated. For instance, consider the follow two ideas.
One of the most powerful exercise motivators is socialization. People who exercise with other people exercise more often. It is a lot easier let yourself down and skip exercising when you are going it alone. Find someone who can help you stay motivated, and then you can help them do the same. This situation is truly a 1+1=3 situation.
One of the primary reasons Andy wrote the book, Change Your Day, Not Your Life is that he found that people who try to change their life in a big way often fall short of their goals, while those who focus on simple, daily changes often accomplish more than they set out to. Andy’s Core idea is that motivation is really just momentum in disguise. Plug this idea in by focusing on building better patterns. Choose a regular time, place, type of exercise and someone to do it with and you can start momentum and motivation.
Here’s to more exercise and more effective work-life balance as we head into November!
We’d love to hear from you! Connect with us at www.andycore.com and www.russellclayton.net