Achieving a Work-Life Balance by Integrating a Fitness Routine into Our Lives
Regular exercising does not only improve your general well-being, it also boosts your career.
A couple of days ago, like every morning, I opened the Internet to read the news while sipping my morning coffee. But, unlike many other mornings, the first news that caught my eyes was not one of the many depressing stories about war, terrorism or famine, but rather the uplifting one of 54-year-old Singaporean, Jimmy Hoon.
Mr Hoon, the article stated, has run eight half-marathons and a full marathon in the past two years. If this were not impressive enough, he managed to accomplish all this after a quadruple heart bypass, which was the result of panic attacks from work-related stress and an unhealthy lifestyle.
What was even more uplifting was the number of online readers that quickly jumped to congratulate Mr Hoon and to share their similar stories. The Internet is not renowned for bringing the best out in people, so, when that happens, you can be sure that it is because the story has resonated with many.
Many case studies have confirmed what doctors have been saying for years: integrating a fitness routine into our lives is necessary if we want to stay healthy and achieve a work-life balance.
We all have our own preference when it comes to sport and fitness. Some like to play team sports, others do calisthenics in the streets or enroll at a gym, but what is a non-negotiable is the need to do a physical activity, particularly if your lifestyle involves spending eight hours at a desk, drinking, smoking and driving everywhere instead of walking.
If you do not want to do it for your health, then do it for your career.
It is a well-documented medical fact that, when we exercise, our body releases endorphins, which makes us happy and help reducing pain, depression and stress.
Furthermore, several studies published by the Harvard Business Review proved that there is another counter-intuitive advantage from adding a regular and planned fitness routine: it helps us structure and separate the work portion of our life from the private one, and, in doing so, it helps us to disconnect from the worries derived from the two realms.
Among the psychological advantages that fitness can bring to our work life, there is the development of self-efficacy. Defined by psychologist Albert Bandura as “people’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives,” self-efficacy is higher among individuals that regularly workout, which means that they develop higher self-esteem and are more likely to deal and overcome difficult situations, even at work.
Finally, it seems that exercising improves productivity. After observing that the mental and physical well-being of their workers had a direct impact of the productivity level of their companies, Japanese managers have been integrating regular exercise programs in the workplace for years.
Ideally, more companies will make exercise programs available to their staff in the future; in the meantime, it is up to each individual to fit their weekly exercises into their schedules.