Sun | Jan 29, 2023

CAREERS - Fit for work

Published:Sunday | February 28, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Glenford Smith, Career Writer

If your job is sedentary, or if you're experiencing increased stress, finding time for exercise is not just a good idea - it's critical

During stressful times, feelings of worry, apprehension, and depression can rob you of your normal enthusiasm and zest for work and life in general. If you're worried about losing your job, it's going to adversely affect your work attitude and your level of creativity. You may start making mistakes which could be costly for you or your company.

If you've lost your job and are frustrated by your inability to find another, your frustration will affect your relationships, sometimes unconsciously. Your spouse or children may start to wonder how come you're so short-tempered and why does everything bother you so easily.

Emotions of anxiety, fear and hopelessness can even cause you to lose concentration while driving, resulting in accidents.

When in such situations, many people believe the only solution to help them cope, return them to a state of happiness, confidence and peak productivity is to get more money, a job or a more understanding spouse.

The reality is that there's another powerful way to transform the negative effects of stressful situations and it is absolutely free and requires only minimal time.

It's called ... exercise. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Perhaps it's even anticlimactic, you were expecting something more earth shattering?

Well, consider this.

According to a special Mind/Body edition of
Psychology Today
magazine, neurologists and scientists have reached agreement on an important, though historically controversial idea - mind and body aren't different and the well-being of one is intimately intertwined with that of the other.

"More and more doctors - and patients - recognise that mental states and physical well-being are intimately connected. And an unhealthy body can lead to an unhealthy mind, and an illness of the mind can trigger or worsen diseases in the body. Fixing a problem in one place, can often help the other," writes Michael D. Lemonick in the report.

So, taking care of your body, through exercise, will help to take care of your mind - your feelings, moods and mental attitudes - and make you fit for work, and life, regardless of the stressful circumstances you face.

You don't need a gym to exercise, either. You can walk, dance, lift weights, play golf, jog, swim, ride a bicycle, do yoga push-ups, stretches, or knee lifts, to name just a few, all without paying a cent in the comfort of your home or community.

Health and well-being expert and author of
Healthy Ageing
, Dr Andrew Weil, advises at least 45 minutes of brisk walking daily, an average of five days a week, to get maximum benefit from walking. Strength training - including weightlifting - should be done two or three days a week, allowing for muscular recovery on off days. Flexibility and balance training also does a lot for both mind and body.

Especially if your job is sedentary, or if you're experiencing increased stress, finding time for exercise is not just a good idea - it's critical.

So, for your mind's sake, get your body in motion. Get fit for work - and for life.

Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and personal achievement strategist.