Help to Grow: Management Course | Kingston University

Let’s get physical

By Zoe Gilks
June 28, 2023

We all know we should exercise, it’s good for our physical, mental and emotional health.  We are also fully aware that finding time in a busy schedule is an ongoing issue for lots of people and especially for small business owners who balance many plates on a daily basis.

Many people are conditioned to separate the mind and the body, however physically working out can help build the connections between the two, improving physical performance and can reduce stress and some find improves cognitive function.  The mini break away from your business can also help you re-frame opportunities, issues or challenges by providing space to find a different perspective to offer new ideas and solutions.

Regular exercise also (obviously) keeps you fit.  This has numerous benefits including your ability to reduce the chance of diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle, improved energy and sleep and also keeping your physical self functional – for example avoiding back or knee pain from too much inactivity.  Reducing time off sick is always a win-win for a business owner.

Exercise can offer benefits socially and for networking through joining a club or activity with other likeminded peers.  Never underestimate the happiness of belonging and the knock on effect on your productivity (and longevity) particularly if your business role can leave you feeling isolated.

So what should we be doing?

The UK Chief Medical Officer guidelines state:

  • Adults should be physically active every day
  • At least 150 minutes of moderate exercise (can still hold a steady conversation) or 75 mins of high intensity a week (can only speak a few words at a time.) Or a combination of both
  • Strength train on at least 2 days of the week

I’d recommend to find something you enjoy and look forward to.  Allow yourself to be a beginner if it’s an activity you’ve not tried before, seeing improvements in a skill or performance is a huge motivator.  I’d also advise to try something that isn’t feeling like you are punishing your body; if you really don’t like running, don’t run – find something else.  Remember one of the benefits of regular exercise is that it should be stress relieving, not stress inducing!

Not having long periods of inactivity is also important, for example encourage getting up and moving around during the day.  Are there innovative ways you can incorporate movement into your business day for you and your colleagues?   Everyone is different and so having a “walk break” may not be suitable for all, so consider the diversity and inclusion of your team.

There’s lots of options out there – see your local council, pool, parkrun or gym for ideas.  It doesn’t need to cost a lot and you don’t need to be an expert at something to see benefits.  A small, but regular, amount of your time could reap long-term rewards for your productivity, health and happiness in your business (and life.)