Exercise is for life, not just for leisure

Exercise is for life, not just for leisure

Three ways to improve your performance

Identify a physical activity you actually like. There are many ways to work out other than boring yourself senseless on a treadmill.

Identify a physical activity you actually like. There are many ways to work out other than boring yourself senseless on a treadmill.

 

Nowhere are the implications of exercise more relevant than in our performance at work. Yet many of us continue to perceive it as a luxury – an activity we’d like to do if only we had more time. Here are three ways to incorporate exercise into a busy schedule.

1. Identify a physical activity you actually like. There are many ways to work out other than boring yourself senseless on a treadmill. Find an activity you can look forward to doing, like tennis, swimming, dancing, softball, or even vigorously playing the drums. You are far more likely to stick with an activity if you genuinely enjoy doing it.

2. Invest in improving your performance. Instead of settling for “getting some exercise,” focus on mastering an activity instead. Mastery goals, which psychologists define as goals that centre on achieving new levels of competence, have consistently been shown to predict persistence across a wide range of domains. So hire a coach, enrol in a class and buy yourself the right clothing and equipment. The additional financial investment will increase your level of commitment, while the steady gains in performance will help sustain your interest over the long term.

3. Become part of a group, not a collective. One recommendation aspiring gym-goers often receive is to find an exercise regimen that involves other people. It’s good advice. Socializing makes exercise more fun, which improves the chances that you’ll keep doing it. It’s also a lot harder to back out on a friend or a trainer than to persuade yourself that just one night off couldn’t hurt.

In association with Harvard Business Review.

Previously published in The Irish Times.

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