Work, home, and play. All important environments for a leader, but not the only ones. How a leader takes care of his body should be near the top of the list too.
My sister plays tennis a couple of times a week. My boss is a weight room junkie. My good friend is an avid runner. For me, I prefer to hit the trails for a good long run.
For you it might be different. In fact, fitness plans have varied for me over the years. The venue or activity is not nearly as important as the consistency. And variety can be your friend.
So what is your plan? If you are like a lot of leaders I know, fitness can find its way to the bottom of your to do list. Don’t let that happen! Your influence is on the line.
A commitment to fitness will keep you healthy, alert, and at your leadership best. It will also increase your leadership longevity.
Let me give you a few keys.
1. Start with your heart! Cardiovascular exercise is essential if you want to be an authentic leader. 20-30 minutes of cardio 3-4 times a week is all you need to maintain heart health. Brisk walking, running, swimming, and biking all qualify. Or you might have some other exercise you enjoy that will help you get your heart going. Pick something and stick with it.
2. Stretch! Muscle elasticity is what keeps us young. (Guilty as charged on this one) When muscles aren’t stretched they begin to deteriorate. The end result is atrophy and ultimately death. There are some great stretching plans available @ runnersworld.com. Start slow and easy, but start. You can stretch while watching TV or standing in a checkout line. People might think you are weird, but they will envy the way you can touch your toes.
3. Lift! Weight training will keep your muscles strong and active. You don’t have to be a muscle head, but you do need to move your muscles. Resistance is the key. It can take on many forms, from weights to exercises like pushups that simply use your body weight as resistance. Train each major muscle group at least one time each week. 2-3 sets of 8-10 repetitions is sufficient to maintain muscular health.
4. Watch your weight! Literally get on the scales every day. They don’t lie! They hold you accountable for what you eat. There is a reason all the authorities say eat fruits and vegetables. They are good for you. Find out your ideal weight and make it your target. Once you get there, and you can if you choose to, stay there! There is a great calorie counter as well as other assessment tools available @ livestrong.com.
If you have been neglecting a focus on fitness, now is the time to make an adjustment. Move, stretch, lift, and be disciplined with your food choices and you will be “Fit to Lead.” A lot of people are counting on you to get this one right!
I’ll be looking for you on the trails . . .
Randy is an author, speaker, executive coach, and the CEO of InteGREAT Leadership. He invests his time encouraging leaders around the world.