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The Energy Coach: Tim: "Exercise? It won't help me get my job done."
Earlier this summer, I ran into one of my neighbors, Tim, a software engineer, at a weekend arts and music festival. Having found a shady spot to sit while the band took a break, he mentioned that he had seen me riding my bicycle several times from his desk in his home office. I explained that exercise is extremely important to me and I make sure that it is a consistent part of my life.
“It used to be a big part of my life, too,” Tim told me, “but with my job and my family, I just don’t have time for it anymore.”
Tim said that he had to make hard choices about how to spend his time because the various demands in his life ate away at his day. “I have to weigh whether something will directly make me more efficient or effective at my job. Exercise? It won’t help me get my job done, so it doesn’t make the short list.”
How many of you have said the same?
I gently pushed back on Tim’s rationale and told him that exercise is a uniquely powerful way to build capacity physically—giving him more energy throughout the day—and to renew emotionally and mentally. I mentioned a meta-analysis study conducted by a team of researchers in London, which concluded exercise improves mental health and well being, reduces depression and anxiety, and enhances cognitive functioning. If he exercised more, he would feel better and think more clearly, which would have a direct effect on his job performance.
Tim decided to commit to getting more exercise, especially given the warmer weather and the chance to be outside. We crafted a ritual that would work for him given his schedule and family obligations. He said he would go for a 30 minute run over his lunch hour on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so that he could still help get the kids off to school in the morning. He would set it as an appointment in his own calendar and dress in his exercise clothes those mornings to serve as another reminder. Additionally, he would take his children for a bike ride on the nearby park path on either Saturday or Sunday for at least 45 minutes.
Just this past weekend, I ran into Tim while walking the dog and asked him about his exercise ritual.
“It is going great,” Tim told me. “The runs during my lunch hour seem to energize me for the rest of the day. I come back focused and sometimes find stepping away from my desk gives me perspective on an issue I had been grappling with all morning.” He went on to say that he had even added another day of running during the week because he loved how it made him feel. “I’m not sure why I thought that exercise wasn’t a factor in how I did my job or even how I feel about myself. It will stay one of my priorities because I see the tangible results in how I act, think, and feel.”
What might you learn from Tim’s experience to bring exercise back into your life?
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Teri, It is amazing how much exercise can help clear the mind, improve our mood and keep us going! Glad you enjoyed the post, Catherine
@ 2010/09/14 07:16:06 PM
I am a huge proponent of exercise and have found that when not working out, my productivity and energy level lessen greatly. Taking care of our body goes hand-in-hand with every other sphere of our life. Thanks for the post.
@ 2010/09/14 12:24:54 AM