As a freelance translator finding the time for extracurricular activities can sometime feel like a million miles away, especially when it comes to exercise. For hours a day we sit glued to our screens but what impact is this having on our bodies? Should we all make time in our day to fit in exercise to our daily routines?
Do you think that exercise is just another box to tick on your busy weekly schedule?
Think again: science has proved that exercising is not just good for your body, but for your mind and general mood, too. Exercise really can help boost your productivity as you work.
Indeed, people who exercise regularly develop brain skills, have a more positive outlook on life and are able to handle better the stress caused by a busy life.
So, if feeling great and running a happy business is your dream, stop dreaming and start exercising. 2016 is just around the corner, so here are 5 reasons why exercise can positively help you and your freelance translation business flourish:
1) Exercise prevents the sitting disease
Sitting more than 40 hours a week in front of your computer can slowly kill you. Sitting for long hours shuts down the electrical activity in your legs, which are the biggest muscles of the body – which means that (a) you are slowing down blood circulation and (b) your chances of developing heart conditions and diabetes are increasing.
The sitting disease can lead to other unpleasant conditions such as bad posture, sight problems, knee and back problems, weight gain, general bad mood, anxiety. 30 minutes of exercise a day can help you avoid these issues and regain control of your health.
Yoga, desk yoga, running, power walking, Pilates, fitness are just a few activities that can be done everywhere and at any time of the day. No gym membership required, no extra costs or busy activities to add to your long lists of daily tasks. Grab a mat, a bottle of water and start exercising.
2) Exercise reduces stress
Passionate entrepreneurs and freelancers face an enormous amount of stress: from setting up a business, to creating a new project, marketing one’s services, finding clients, etc.
The stress derived by such a hectic life can negatively influence your body and mind, and in some cases even lead to frustration and depression. However, when exercising your body releases endorphins: hormones able to boost your mood while lowering your perception of pain. Often referred to as the ‘exercise high’, the positive and balanced sense of pleasure caused by the production of endorphins makes you fell better, more relaxed and invigorated. Regular exercise stimulates regular production of these chemicals, boosting your mood and self-perception.
3) Exercise helps you to sleep well.
One of the most common problems freelancers and business owners have is that they find it difficult to stick to a fixed routine and often work until late, over the weekend, or, in general, have very unpredictable working hours.
Yoga can help you to relax and stretch your hurting back and shoulders before going to bed. Which translates as: meditate and sweat from the comfort of your home-based yoga corner right before going to bed. Not that bad, right? And running early in the morning can help you to release the surplus of energy accumulated over a sleepless night, while it’s also a powerful happiness booster and prepares your body and mind to face a busy day.
Believe it or not, sweating and jumping helps you to sleep better. Experts are still not sure about the time of the day, but the majority of them agree on the fact that a low impact activity like yoga can distress the mind and rebalance your senses before going to bed, while higher impact disciplines should be practiced during the day.
4) Exercise increases your discipline.
I studied to become a ballerina and when it comes to discipline, nothing beats classical ballet.
Sport and fitness require a certain amount of discipline, too. From learning the basics of a certain exercise, to memorise steps, attend all classes, set (and reach!) goals, follow a new diet, commit, try and succeed. Cut your teeth on a new activity to turn out the precise and organised little athlete in you and develop a natural discipline that will help your business, too.
Rule number one: it takes time, so give yourself a realistic timeframe (i.e. six months, one year).
Rule number two: make small but steady changes, nothing happens without adapting yourself to the new healthy lifestyle, but small steps are more effective than big changes – and, in general, last longer. For instance, start by leaving every day your yoga mat somewhere next to you as a gentle reminder of exercising as part of your daily tasks. Hide those chocolate biscuits somewhere in the kitchen, but keep a bag of dried fruit or cashew on your desk when you’re snacking.
Rule number three: plan. A good fitness plan will take up to a week to become effective, you can buy a notepad or write on your calendar to plan your weekly sessions and track your progress. I don’t have a complicated system, I just have a yoga agenda where I also write down my gym sessions (lift 3x week, cardio 2x, yoga 6x).
5) Exercise is your “me time”
Wake up, school run, business meeting, laundry, walk the dog out, go to bed. Repeat. Do I need to say more? Better: did I mention a ‘me’ hour? Nope. And not because we don’t want it (we crave for it!), but because juggling business, family and housekeeping is not exactly easy. Not to mention the very unsupportive and dodgy neighbours, totally unable to get our freelancing choice.
Well, this is why exercise is even more important: because finding some good and healthy time for ourselves only is key to avoid the burnout and clear the mind.
The reasons to exercise are countless, from shredding weight to eating better, feeling better, working better, etc.
As I always say one has to commit and commitment requires discipline and a bit of a lifestyle change, but small steps can lead you to a transformational journey that will improve your life forever.