As a remote leader, you have fewer excuses than your bricks-and-mortar colleagues in one vital area of life: exercise. Not having enough time in the day is the number one excuse people give for not exercising, but your time, and the schedule of your entire remote team, is more malleable. It’s not that you or they have no parameters whatsoever, or you have more time in the day. But you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to squeeze in a run or wait until after 5pm to hit the gym. You have more freedom to craft how you spend your time, and exercise should fill some of it on a regular basis.
Lee Cockerell, former Executive Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, has an excellent podcast on how exercise in an important aspect of being a powerful leader. If the guy who basically ran Disney for years had time for exercise, you most likely do too!
Moving more makes good business sense
Exercise may seem like an afterthought when you are concentrating on hitting your revenue goals for the quarter and spinning all of the plates that any leadership position entails. However, consider this sobering fact: Nearly 70% of American adults are overweight according to the Centers for Disease Control. Being overweight of course brings a myriad of other health problems, and 75% of healthcare costs are caused by preventable lifestyle behaviors. So with more and more health insurance companies rewarding healthy living choices, encouraging exercise in your remote team is a prudent course of action. One that could actually impact your bottom line.
Sitting is the new smoking
This new buzz phrase has more than a nugget of truth to it. The human body was meant to move. Period. As we go through our day, the very nature of many remote positions means we sit a lot. We don’t move hardly at all. Remote workers may not even have the movement of walking to their car. We require nothing of our bodies except sitting at a desk clicking the mouse and tapping on keyboards. And then guess what? We only notice our bodies when something goes wrong. For all the fabulous advances of our modern society and the digital age, neglecting to move is a devastating by product. Sitting too much not only cuts productivity when small health issues start to pile up and morph into larger ones, but it really is racking up many of the detrimental health effects of smoking.
How to begin to move more
If you’re not sure where to start, there are a variety of training programs online that remote workers can access remotely as well. Do not embark on any however until you get the go-ahead from your physician, (especially if you’ve never exercised before.) A few popular ones include Couch to 5K for beginning runners, 5K Your Way Walking Program from SparkPeople, (a website that is really chock-full of great healthy lifestyle information) free bicycling plans and more. Google away – you’ll find plenty. And save the team sports for the weekend – the whole point of making exercise work while you’re leading remotely is to not be tied in to a schedule.
And think about this: You can better coalesce your team around common goals and create better engagement by making exercise a team bonding experience. Maybe you can all sign up for a 5K, or log your miles no matter if you walk, run or bike them. Be creative – and you will be surprised at how the competitive streak in many of your team members will shine through.
The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter if we’ve landed our dream job, leading a team of incredibly talented remote workers every day if we don’t have our health. Make exercise a priority.