Tackling 1 of the 4 F’s: Fitness

Are you in great shape physically? Here is how IRUNURUN can help you sustain your fitness, and more importantly, why it may be more important than you think.

In the US, obesity is an epidemic, and no one is immune. Over two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Why? Perhaps because our diets stink (we often dine from a bag or a box; healthy food is often perishable; “supersized” sounds like value). Perhaps because more and more of us sit for a living, including yours truly…

And yet, we go along with this slow motion suicide quite willingly. After all, for most people, fitness is a conscious decision. We choose how we eat. We choose whether or not we take the stairs. We choose when we go to bed and when we rise (most of the time).

Making a case for fitness on the costs alone is easy.  Sick days, the healthcare burden, money wasted on fads and fixes, the list goes on.

But, consider a case based solely on the benefits. If poor diet, lack of sleep, and lousy exercise habits had no impact whatsoever on your weight, your risk for diabetes and other health problems, would you still buy into the case for fitness?

You should. Beyond not getting sick, the benefits of fitness are vast.

Consider these 3:

1. Mental health.

When we are physically fit, not just skinny…but light, strong, and swift…we think better. Our brains are happier (exercise literally lights up the reward center of the brain). We are more focused, more confident, and less prone to depression or anger.

These benefits translate to better ideas, greater creativity, faster mental processing, fewer and less severe mood swings…which equate to better work and stronger relationships.

2. Energy.

Some people don’t work out because they say they don’t have the energy. Ironically, regular workouts increase our energy, giving us greater capacity to perform at everything we do, including working out.

3. Connectedness.

Exercise gives us an opportunity to break out of the hierarchy and norms of our corporate and social structure. In the weight room, we’re all equal. On the court, we might discover new friends. On race day, we might help a client realize a lifelong goal. Try as you might, the benefits to experiencing fitness with others is unique to traditional relationship-building activities.

So if fitness not only keeps us sane and powers us to be a better version of ourselves in both work and life, why don’t we all do it? The reasons are many, perhaps, but let’s suffice to say that it belongs on our dashboard of “things that matter most.”

How you actually put it into IRUNURUN depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

1. If you are just getting started, be specific.

Use actions such “In bed by 10p.m. 4 times per week” or “Walk 10,000 steps per day” or “Do P90X 6 times per week.” Being specific also helps you keep the degree of change manageable.  Small changes are more sustainable.  Just start doing one or two new things that will contribute to your overall fitness.

2. If you are well-established in your workout routine, use a simple action like “Workout”.  Just consider doing it more as a lifestyle than a drudgery.  Shorter daily workouts 5 or 6 days per week can have the same or great impact than long dreadful masochistic sessions fewer times per week, especially when you consider the impact of missing workouts from time to time.

3. If you are pushing toward a goal, consider measurable stretch actions. Instead of “Run”, use something like “Run 3 miles under 21min” 3 times per week or “Walk 2% farther than last week” measured 1 time per week.

Finally, be sure to consider all dimensions of your fitness. It isn’t sufficient to be just strong or light or committed to a healthy diet. Fitness is the sum total of all of your habits pertaining to your body, including sleep, nutrition, hydration, strength, and cardio. It also includes your mental and emotional health (we covered spiritual health under the separate topic of Faith).

So just as each of your IRUNURUN actions contribute to your total weekly score, think about Fitness as an element of your success at work and in life. In the end, the fact that you look and feel better may end up being the least of the benefits you experience!