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Healthy Body, Healthy Business: 9 Ways to Stay Healthy While Running Your Business

4 Mins read

Entrepreneurs are familiar with protecting their assets using insurance. However, many entrepreneurs ignore the risk to their most valuable asset, their physical health. Roughly 8% of entrepreneurs trying to sell their business cite “Health Issues” as a primary reason, states a whitepaper from bizbuysell.com.

Stress Takes a Toll

The amount of stress that even a successful business generates can be staggering, to say nothing about the mental hardships caused by market downturns, cash flow crunches, or losing key employees. The medical community calls sustained periods of stress “chronic stress,” which can contribute to anxiety, depression, sleep problems, weight gain, memory impairment, high blood pressure, and increased chances of heart disease and death.

Entrepreneurship and Obesity

The highest obesity rate in the US belongs to 40-59-year-olds at 44%. Considering that the average age of a business founder is 45, there’s a good chance that you are either in or about to enter the period of life where you are most prone to obesity.

In a 2021 study, researchers found a positive link between an increased Body Mass Index (BMI) and Entrepreneurship. While the researchers didn’t dive into the direct causes of the increased BMI scores for entrepreneurs, it is easy to come up with some possible culprits, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, and poor diet.

Finding Time for Health

Small Business owners who follow an exercise program are more likely to attain their business and personal goals. However, many business owners don’t prioritize exercise like they do other aspects of their business. Here are a few tips on how you can find the time:

  1. Piggyback on existing routines – Find a time when you do the same thing every day and try to incorporate exercise into that routine. For example, if you know you drop your kids off at school every morning, can you go straight to the gym afterward? Attaching exercise to an existing routine makes it easier to turn it into a habit.
  2. Find Active Leisure Activities – If you hate dragging yourself to the gym, try to find a fun activity that you enjoy that gets your body moving. This could be anything from hiking to ultimate frisbee. Find an activity you enjoy and commit to doing it with others. There are plenty of hiking clubs and city sports leagues that you can join. Or if you have a friend or spouse that enjoys the activity, commit to doing it once or twice a week.
  3. Accountability Partners – Knowing that you will have to fess up to someone for failing to do what you said you would can be a huge motivation, and best of all, it’s easy to find accountability partners using apps like Supporti or Coach.me.

Getting Enough Sleep

Not getting enough sleep is a double whammy when it comes to obesity. Studies have shown that a lack of quality sleep can cause metabolism problems and hormone changes that cause you to overeat. So if you are not getting the recommended 7+ hours a night, your body won’t burn calories as it should, and you take in too many calories. A few quick rules can change your sleep habits and help keep you in health:

  1. Screens Out – you have probably heard of “lights out” at a specific time. However, given our day and age, you are probably getting blue light from screens in the evening, tricking your brain into thinking it’s still daytime. Make a rule to have all screens off 1 hour before bedtime, or don’t start a show after a specific time. For instance, let’s say you want to get to sleep by 11 pm; create a rule stating “no shows can be started after 9:30 pm”.
  2. Get Some Morning Sunlight Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist at Stanford, teaches that “morning sunlight helps regulate your ‘circadian clock’ — the body’s mechanism for anticipating when to wake up and go to sleep.” He recommends getting outside as early in the day as possible, ideally within the first 30 minutes of waking.
  3. Avoid Nighttime Caffeine – Coffee and caffeinated beverages are known for helping us wake up, however, those same effects can happen when we want to go to sleep. Avoid drinking any caffeinated beverages after 2pm.

Eating Right

As business owners, it’s easy to think of eating as something to get out of the way so you can work on your business. A healthier way to think is that your meals are what give you the energy to complete what you need to take your business to the next level.

  1. Avoid the Fast Food Trap

There’s a reason why fast food restaurants are ubiquitous in the US; they truly live up to their name. Without reservations, you can get in and out in 15 minutes. However, you’re paying more than just dollars for that privilege. Reducing the number of trips through the drive-through can have a significant impact on your health.

  1. Improve Your Meal Appointments

One way to increase your productivity and reduce fast food temptations is to set lunch appointments with key contacts or employees at traditional restaurants. Of course, if you still end up ordering a burger and fries, there’s little improvement. But usually, it’s easier to order a salad or something from the restaurant’s healthy menu items than it would be to order a #5 with fries by yourself.

  1. Planning vs. Tracking Your Calories

If you want to lose or maintain your weight, you’ll need a way to ensure your hitting your target calorie intake for the day. There are a lot of different planning strategies to do this, such as time-restricted eating or limiting particular foods, like fats or carbs. Alternatively, instead of committing to a specific diet, you can track your calories and then stop eating when you hit your calorie target for the day. Ultimately, it’s a matter of preference, and the best diet is the diet that you can keep for the rest of your life.

Conclusion

Most small businesses can only function with the business owner actively overseeing them. So to keep your business functioning, you have to keep yourself functioning. By finding an exercise and diet routine that works for you, you’ll feel better and your business will perform better.

Kevin Wilson is the Owner of kevinexercises.com which teaches recreational based fitness strategies.

Health entrepreneurs stock image by Ground Picture/Shutterstock

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