Regular exercise is the best way to staying healthy during times of stress. Plus, executives who exercise are considered to be more effective leaders than those who don’t.
“We’ve known for years that people gain huge health benefits when they exercise. What is even more interesting from a leadership perspective is that organizations stand to gain when their leaders are physically fit,” says the Center for Creative Leadership’s Sharon McDowell-Larsen. Recent research from CCL shows that regular exercise and effective leadership go hand-in-hand. Leaders who exercise regularly were rated significantly higher by their bosses, peers and direct reports on their leadership effectiveness than the non-exercisers. Time invested in regular exercise, even if it means spending less time at work, is correlated with higher – not lower – ratings of leadership effectiveness. It seems that a healthy lifestyle can help executives to better cope with the stresses and demands of their positions, thus ultimately increasing their leadership effectiveness.
Staying healthy during times of stress requires either reducing the strain or boosting one’s ability to weather its effects. If you can find ways to reduce the external pressures that cause stress and overload, that’s ideal. Meanwhile, improve your mental and physical ability to process stress by establishing a regular exercise program and other healthy habits. The University of Iowa reports that regular exercise not only reduces stress but also can help leaders reduce anxiety, improve sleep and boost immunity from colds and flu. Exercise also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. (more…)