The mind is arguably the most valuable asset to an entrepreneur or business tycoon. It is the place where innovative ideas are created and decisions formulated. For this reason it is common that priority is given to developing the mind over nurturing the body. Many entrepreneurs ensure they benefit their business through education; they make time to attend trade exhibitions, read inspiring books or listen to ted talks.
The day to day operations of a growing business can leave little energy or time to do anything seen to be recreational. However the mental agility that successful individuals rely on has the potential to be maximised through regular exercise. As Dr John Ratey, Clinical Psychiatrist, states “Exercise is the single most powerful tool you have to optimise your brain function.” While everyone knows that exercise has a myriad of benefits in the body, the link between mental and physical fitness can often be forgotten.
Four ways exercise improves the brain
1. Relieves stress
Stress is the body’s natural response to the heavy burden of tasks inherent with growing businesses. While stress can be a driving force to succeed, it can also have the opposite effect if it is in excess. Chronic stress can lead to an inability to concentrate, fatigue or irritability. However the relationship between exercise and stress levels has been well-documented. Research has shown that aerobic exercise prevents the negative effects of stress through its antidepressant and anxiolytic action.
2. Boosts creativity
The ability to think outside of the box is in universal demand. It can help to launch successful products or pull back a company from the edge of financial ruin. While there are many factors that can be attributed to creativity, experiments have revealed that aerobic exercise has the ability to increase creativity in individuals.
3. Improves focus
After overcoming the initial exhaustion from starting an exercise regime, the effect of improved memory and alertness will follow. This is a result of exercise stimulating the release of chemicals that play a vital part in concentration and mental sharpness. Focus can be sharpened for two to three hours after exercise.
4. Decreases mental ageing
Long term effects of exercise include less rapid decline of cognitive function in the golden years. Studies on elderly people have highlighted that there is a reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in cases where exercise has been a regular feature in people’s lives.
Strenuous activity and long gruelling workouts aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and neither is it necessary to achieve a mental fitness. Even walking twenty minutes a day can help towards a fit mind. The fitness industry is booming and consequently there is a multitude of websites, apps and YouTube workouts to choose from. Many regimes are tailored to the time-poor so there’s no excuse to not find something what caters to everyone’s specific needs.