By Phil Kelly – Director Body Expert Systems

While it may seem like there’s a magic pill for everything these days, exercise is one aspect of your life that is a worthy investment of your time and effort. Far from being a mere aid for weight loss or body sculpting, regular physical activity can improve all aspects of your life—from cognitive function and emotional well-being to long-term health and longevity. It’s very important to realize that any movement is better than no movement at all. No matter how busy you are, making time for your health is essential to living a full and productive life. A small investment of time spent moving your body will provide amazing returns. However, it’s not usually a lack of information that’s the problem. I’m sure you already understand the benefits of exercise, but still struggle with how to make regular exercise a part of your life.

Here are 4 tips to help get you started:

1. Develop a committed mindset – nothing is achieved unless there is a will to accomplish the task. If something is important, you will always find time for it.

2. Schedule it in your calendar – make it an unmovable meeting. Treat it with the same importance as your next board meeting.

3. Join activities that you enjoy, and that you can look forward to participating in; badminton, padel tennis, swimming, dance, football, or golf, are all good options.

4. Plan your sessions for times when you know you will feel energetic and when there will be fewer interruptions. I always recommend mornings or lunchtimes. Begin work an hour early or take a long lunch break to fit in some exercise. This will have a two-fold benefit of revitalizing your body through movement and giving you distance from work problems, which will allow you to gain perspective and find solutions when you go back to the office.

Controlling where and how much time you spend on activities is self-mastery. You should be in control of your work hours, not your work dictating your hours. Once the discipline and routine are established, what are the best exercises to focus on?

Resistance-Based Exercise is Ideal

The best form of exercise for anyone, particularly busy executives, is resistance-based training. Here’s why:

  • Muscle Gain: Resistance exercises help you increase muscle mass. This not only boosts your metabolism but also serves as a place for excess energy to be stored, decreasing fat accumulation.

  • Joint Support: Having strong muscles supports your joints, which is crucial when you’re sitting at a desk for extended periods.

  • Improves Balance: The added strength and control gained from resistance training help improve your balance, a key element in preventing age-related falls.
  • Anti-Aging: Resistance training has been proven to slow down the physiological aging process by enhancing muscle quality and increasing bone density.

  • Enhances Stress Management: The physical strain and subsequent release of endorphins during resistance-based exercises make them effective stress reducers.

Research from the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that men who increased the amount of time spent in weight training by 20 minutes per day had less waistline gain compared with those who increased time spent in other types of physical activity. This research emphasizes the efficacy of resistance training over other forms of exercise, even for busy professionals.

Now that you understand the best type of exercise, there are specific areas and exercises that will deliver more ‘bang for your buck’ when you work out.

Addressing Office Posture

Busy executives and office workers have specific needs when it comes to exercise, one of which is combating poor posture from prolonged periods of sitting. Here are some of the common issues

Tight Hip Flexors:

Extended periods of sitting can cause the hip flexors to tighten, leading to lower back pain and weak glutes. Exercises like lunges and hip extensions can help alleviate this and should be a high priority when selecting exercises to optimize your time in the gym.

Rounded Shoulders:The slouched-over computer posture can lead to rounded shoulders. Shoulder retracting exercises can help in pulling them back to a natural position and aid in alleviating neck pain. Rowing exercises, dumbwaiter, prone cobras, and reverse flies are great exercises to mitigate and correct this postural issue.

Forward Head Carry:

Prolonged computer use can cause the head to jut forward unnaturally. Neck exercises can help align the head correctly over the body. Look to skull rocks, and prone chin tucks as well as stretching and massaging the upper trapezius muscles.

Thoracic Spine:

The mid-back region is often overlooked. Thoracic extensions, pullovers, and stretching of the Latissimus Dorsi and intercostal muscles of the rib cage can help maintain a straight back.

Lumbar Spine:

Lumbar issues often arise from a bad seated posture. Lumbar flexion/extension and rotational exercises can help maintain a healthy lower back. Activation and engagement of the inner abdominal unit as well as the lower fibres of the rectus abdominis will strengthen your core and support lower back posture.

Final Word

Exercise is not just for those who have leisure time; it’s a necessary component for everyone, and especially for busy executives who spend long hours in office settings. Make time in your daily schedule to help both your body and mind perform optimally.

Resistance-based exercises offer numerous benefits, from muscle and bone health to pain relief, better posture, and stress reduction. It’s an investment that pays off in every aspect of your life, making it an essential part of your daily routine. Investing a small amount of time and effort into your schedule will result in thinking, feeling, and living better.

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Tim Burrill
Membership Manager & Executive Assistant
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