You may have noticed that there are a few things I really like to talk about on my blog. One is business, and the other is running. At first glance, it doesn’t really seem like there’s that much in common between the two, other than the fact that I am an entrepreneur and businessman and I also happen to be an endurance athlete.
But in all honesty, the overlap isn’t purely just because of personal circumstance. It’s a big part of it, sure—they do say to write what you know.
But I honestly believe that running, in many ways, has helped me be a better professional. And I think it can make you a better professional, too. I’ll tell you why:
7 Ways Endurance Running Enhances Your Professional Life
1) Grow Discipline & Good Habits
Being a runner takes a lot of discipline. It means learning to carve out the time to exercise, eating right so you can have a good run, and dedicating yourself to doing it regularly. A lot of people give up. Discipline is tougher than a lot of us think it is, especially when it comes to exercise and even when it comes to our professions.
When you do master discipline in your pastimes, those good habits can easily be applied to your professional life.
When you do master discipline in your pastimes, those good habits can easily be applied to your professional life. You’ll find it’s easier to power through and work hard on a project that maybe you don’t want to do, but you need to finish. Good habits are contagious, plain and simple. Being disciplined in one area will help you be more disciplined in another.
2) Increase Clarity
Regular exercise is proven to be excellent for the mind. You will find it so much easier to go through your day without distraction when you’ve had good exercise. On top of that, regular exercise also helps you sleep better, too, and we know that being well-rested helps out with focus and clarity.
A Psychonomic Bulletin & Review study in 2012 showed that regular exercise (not just running) helps our mental faculties as we age. Things like task switching, selective attention, and working memory were all cited as being improved by regular exercise.
3) Boost Energy & Stamina
If you’ve just started running, you might laugh at the idea of running giving you energy, but most of us know that the more you exercise, the more energy you have. Exercise helps us build stamina over time, and the more sedentary we are in life, the less energy we have: not only to do physical tasks, but mental ones, too.
We just get tired a lot quicker.
Running will give you that burst of energy to make it: no need for a siesta, no coming home feeling totally exhausted and run down. You’ll have the energy to get your work down and then some. It just feels better when you’ve had daily exercise.
4) Lower Your Stress
How many of us have felt stressed out and defeated by our jobs? It happens. No matter how much you enjoy your work, we can all get exhausted by the grind from time to time. Exercise, especially something like running, can greatly reduce your stress levels. Instead of feeling drained, unfocused, and frustrated, you can healthily fend off stress with a good run.
Running has been proven to elevate mood, sleep quality, and concentration with just 30 minutes of running per week. I don’t know about you, but that sounds worth it to me!
5) Fend Off Depression
Not all of us like to talk about it, but depression is a very real issue in our world today. An estimated 16 million American adults suffered from at least one major depressive episode in 2012. And while running won’t cure anyone’s depression, it can help. Exercise in general releases so many good chemicals in our brains! We get things like a “runner’s high,” and “pumped up” after exercise.
Running and exercise just makes us happier people. Even 30 minutes a day can lift your mood. And for our professional lives, that’s good news. That’s good news for our whole lives.
6) Increase Your Confidence
With exercise in running often comes a transformation. We look better, we feel better, we have energy: and we have confidence. That confidence in our bodies and how we feel about ourselves can easily spill over into our professions. It affects how we talk to clients and peers, how we negotiate, and how we deal with every encounter.
If you feel better about yourself, it affects the people around you.
On a long-term scale, regular exercise, be it endurance running or another regimen of choice, helps us live longer. Our quality of life is better. Professionally, that has consequences. It means we can work as long as we want to—we don’t have to be forced into quitting because of failing health.
It means that we have to take fewer sick days. Productivity goes up, prospects are better, and we can do work and life on our own terms! To me, there are no downsides to running. Getting into the routine is tough, but the payoff is so worth it in every way.