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Being Physically Fit Can Build Your Career

By Debra Wheatman

Have you considered physical fitness when you create a strategy to build your career? If not, this could be an element you are neglecting to ensure you are "fit," both emotionally and physically, to drive continued advancement.

There are many research studies and expert reports that indicate that physical fitness plays an important part in your professional ability and potentially your professional success.

Exercise Reduces Stress & May Increase Productivity

A recent research-based report from the Harvard Business Review shared something most of us know from personal experience. The report concluded that exercise decreases stress, which can improve productivity and enjoyment in all areas of life.

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Achieving Fitness Goals Helps with Meeting Challenges

The Nike slogan of "Just Do It" may extend beyond one’s workout setting into other areas of life, including the workplace.

The same Harvard Business Review report suggested that exercise improves one’s self-efficacy.

What is self-efficacy? In simple terms, it is one’s capability to address challenges and accomplish tasks.

In other words, if you think you can accomplish something, you are more likely to accomplish it.

Exercise and accomplishing fitness goals can keep you focused and put you in the right frame of mind to help you achieve the other goals in your career.

Excellent Physical Fitness Increases Cognitive Ability

A study conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Beckman Institute determined that "greater aerobic fitness is associated with more fibrous and compact white matter, a type of nerve tissue connected to learning and brain function." More compact white matter fibers can lead to improved cognitive performance.

The head of the research study, Laura Chaddock-Heyman, was quoted as saying,

"Be smart, and exercise your heart. High levels of physical fitness are not only good for one's physical health but one's cognitive and brain health as well."

Getting Started

Perhaps you have slipped into a sedentary lifestyle and getting fit again seems impossible. Two suggestions that I often hear from fitness experts is to start slowly.

1. Avoid rushing the process.

Don’t go out and run the stadium stairs on your first day. Start with walking. Perhaps integrate five minutes of jogging for every fifteen minutes that you walk. Gradually increase the jogging or try walking on inclines. Take it easy with weight lifting and consider working with a trainer until you regain your proper form.

2. Create accountability.

Find a workout buddy. You are more like to keep your commitment if you have an appointment with a workout buddy.

If you aren't physically fit now, becoming more fit won't be a quick process. But, the longer you wait to start, the more challenging (and lengthy) the process will be. So, if you begin now, you will be on the best path to meet both your long-term health and career goals.

The Bottom Line

You don’t have to be a triathlete to experience the positive benefits of fitness in your career. Moderate activities, performed steadily, can make a difference. This may be a commitment of three or four 45- to 60-minute sessions per week. Create a regimen of strength training, cardiovascular activity, and good nutrition. As you build your fitness, you are likely to build your career.


About the author...

Debra Wheatman is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC). She is globally recognized as an expert in advanced career search techniques with more than 18 years' corporate human resource experience. Debra has been featured on Fox Business News, WNYW with Brian Lehrer, and quoted in leading publications, including Forbes.com, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNBC. Debra may be reached at debra@careersdonewrite.com, or you may visit her website at CareersDoneWrite.com. You can also circle her on Google+.


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