Plato once said “Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.” So, does exercise form a part of your business strategy? The stereotype is the over-stressed suit living off their morning cup of coffee and some air. If they’re lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it) they might get a second coffee for lunch, and perhaps some kind of conveniently wrapped saturated fat in between two slices of human-sized baguette. Others, who plan their working life a little more efficiently, may indulge in the art of business-lunching, or business breakfasting; plates of full-English or three-course calories shovelled in to expanding bellies, in the hope of securing that all-important hand-shake. The first strategy is time=money. The second one is people=money. Both of them are potentially bad for our health and, whilst not necessarily being bad for business, in isolation they could be restricting your business potential. Don’t get me wrong. I like the odd biscuit, glass of wine, or takeaway curry. Rubbish in moderation isn’t the be all and end all. But how many people think that fitness=money? I mean, most of us will remember the “Are you up for squash later?” concept – a 1980′s fitness-networking combo. Twenty years on, squash has been usurped by general gym-work and many business owners take time to carefully ensure a healthy work-life balance; a conscious choice to have a stable balance to their lives. I’m not a gym-bunny though. I am a runner. For me, I find relief and ideas from the time I spend pounding the streets and parks of Hastings, improving both my health and my business strategies; the freedom to think, unconstrained from the handcuffs of technology. I like to think of it as business-development time; a clear mind, a clear vision. Not only that, but it also increases general energy levels, giving me added impetus through the working day.It raises dopamine levels, which is a hormone that helps our brain to learn. What better business-strategy is there than to be constantly learning and adapting to your learning? Exercise produces more endorphins that give you a sense of well-being, and even euphoria. Runners will tell you about the ‘runner’s high’ we experience following exercise. I was reading a piece of American research that showed for every dollar spent by businesses on improving the health of their employees, there was a return of up to six dollars. That’s a 600% return. Wouldn’t we all want a bit of that, even if we were the only employee in our business? But what about a carb-fest? Doesn’t that make us feel good too? Perhaps, but not in a long-lasting beneficial way. The feel-good factor simply comes from being sated; that immediate sense of stomach satisfaction. But, before long, reality sets in and we slip into a kind of afternoon carb-coma, where business productivity and clarity of thought can be compromised. So, next time you order your large cappafrappamochacino to go, or tuck into your giant torpedo baguette splitting at the seams with tuna mayo, will you let the sluggish effects affect your daily business, or when you finish your work, will you throw on some shorts and exercise your way towards tomorrow’s opportunities?

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