3 Mission-Critical Health Habits for the Busy Executive
Did you know that 45% to 61% of top male CEOs are overweight?
This statistic is worry-some when you consider the potential opportunities that might go wasted by these CEOs simply for not having a proper diet and exercise regime. What ideas could they have come up with? Could they have solved a problem better? Worked a bit smarter? What’s the total impact to top-line revenue?
Executives are constantly required to be at their mental best, as they understand that the company depends on their own personal performance. At the same time, research has frequently shown the relationship between physical well-being and cognitive function.
Therefore, it’s important now more than ever to begin an exercise and nutrition routine.
If you intend to run a business as effectively and efficiently as possible, it is essential that all liabilities are addressed – including your personal wellbeing.
There’s a common misconception that maintaining a fitness routine is complicated.
The truth is that it doesn’t have to be!
There are small, extremely valuable habits you can start building today that you will see the results of over the course of a few months. Remember, growth happens over time, with consistency. Thus, here are three mission-critical health habits for every busy executive to keep in mind.
Breathe In, Stress Out
Breathing can seem very trivial, as though it’s unnecessary to do since we’re constantly breathing. However, the trickle-down effects of breathing exercises are extremely beneficial to our wellbeing. Driving our focus to our own breath leads us to momentarily forget about emails to respond to, upcoming meetings, and any other pending company project.
These are all mental stimuli which can take a toll on our mental capabilities. Constant chronic stress changes the chemicals in the brain affecting cognition and mood, which can lead to more serious conditions such as depression.
To combat this, take a few minutes before a mentally demanding activity to sit down and focus on your breathing. Taking deep breaths is one of the best ways to lower your cortisol levels, while also lowering heart rate and blood pressure.
Minor Steps, Major Impact
Physical activity doesn’t have to be complicated. As I mentioned before, results come from consistent action. If you’re just starting out, going on a 10-minute walk each day on your lunch break can have a tremendous positive impact on your health.
On a physiological level, walking is a great way to burn calories. Walking 10 minutes per day for a week would result in 350 calories burned. Over time this amount will compound and contribute greatly to weight loss. You’ll also find yourself improving your cardiovascular and muscular systems, allowing you to carry out physical tasks with less trouble.
Mentally, walking can lead to a boost of the decision-making areas of your brain. In a study of older adults, the group assigned to walk 3 times per week for 6 months showed improved executive functions and neural efficiency when compared to the control group. Experts believe this is due to the increased blood flow you gain from exercising.
Choose Green and Lean
The great thing about nutrition is that it requires virtually no additional effort on your part, only a more conscious choice to be made when you are selecting your meals. Along with the surge in new healthy fast-food restaurants, the popularity of food delivery services has made it far more accessible to purchase health-conscious meals than it ever has been before.
Of course, the preferable option is to cook your own meals so you can precisely portion your carbs, proteins, and fats. The practice of meal-prepping (cooking food for the whole week) is commonly used by those with limited time to ensure they are consuming nutritionally dense meals throughout the work week.
Whether you prefer ordering out or cooking your own meals, the important habit to build is to always choose the “greener” option. Grilled chicken over fried, steamed veggies over potatoes, and always, always choose water over soda.
Treat Yourself Like A Client
This is a fundamental mindset to employ, as ultimately, you are your most important client. Just as you set aside time for your customers, set aside time each day for your body and mind. Commit to that time the same way you would for a client. After all, the way you treat yourself will eventually affect the experience your real clients and customers have with your business.
Taking care of yourself is a commitment, just like anything else in life. Challenge yourself to take this year seriously for your health and wellness, and I guarantee you’ll see a major return-on-investment in your personal health and career.
About The Authors
We are father and son pro natural bodybuilders Oscar and Zach Muñoz. Our goal is to help executives transform their body and resulting work performance with fad-free fitness tips.
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- Wall Street Journal Article: Want To Be CEO? What's Your BMI?
- ScienceDaily Article: Weight Discrimination Could Contribute To The Glass Ceiling Effect For Women, Study Finds
- Study: Effects of Physical Exercise on Cognitive Functioning and Wellbeing: Biological and Psychological Benefits
- Article: How chronic stress changes the brain – and what you can do to reverse the damage