Why is it especially important for a CEO to stay fit? The health benefits of a robust exercise regimen are clear for anyone. CEOs, though, have high amounts of stress and limited amounts of optional time. Health experts strongly associate these proportions with high health risks.
Goodbye Cortisol, Hello Endorphins
First of all, increased fitness decreases cortisol levels. Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone. Though helpful in a physical trauma, fight, or flight, cortisol can be otherwise harmful. Overproduction of cortisol has been associated with mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and disruptions in cognition and sleep. Some physical ailments associated with cortisol are headaches, heart disease, and weight gain. A daily, vigorous exercise regimen releases endorphins and hormones associated with reduced pain and increased pleasure that may improve mood and health.
If all exercise did was to increase endorphins and decrease cortisol, that should be enough to catch any business leader’s attention. But, wait, that’s not all.
Exercise is also beneficial for executive functioning of the brain. Just as a business executive monitors and coordinates various departments, the executive function of the brain moves body and mind efficiently forward. With improved diet and fitness, the brain produces cells and neural pathways, called neurogenesis. More than anyone, CEOs need to be at the top of their game, and neurogenesis, improved by exercise, will give them a needed advantage.
In addition, sweating releases toxins that have accumulated in the body, moving heavy metals and harmful microbes out of the system. With these toxins removed, skin glows, tightens, and exudes radiance. The entire organization will feel the positive vibe emanating from a CEO’s fit and detoxified presence.
Finally, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes rates, which have been ravaging Americans for years, are becoming global health threats. Cardiovascular disease is on pace to become the primary cause of death and disability in India by 2020. Studies have shown that three hours of exercise per week can positively impact heart health.
There is a reason that more and more entrepreneurs have life coaches. Running an organization is highly demanding and requires so much attention and focus that less pressing needs easily recede to the background. A life coach can look at the bigger picture and will definitely encourage their clients to maximize performance by having vigorous workout plans.
Being fit isn’t just a competitive advantage. It also creates long term health benefits which increase both focus and confidence. This might mean having the edge needed to lead an organization that is as healthy and vibrant as its leader.