20 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Immediately Improve Their Health
The most common problems for entrepreneurs are often not even “work” related…
In many instances it has something to do with excessive sitting and poor diet.
Working long, unsociable hours, on little sleep, fueling your body with crap food – just to get back to the grind isn’t healthy for you or your business.
New research shows sedentary behavior to be equivalent to smoking… It’s no wonder some entrepreneurs are incredibly unhealthy despite an OK diet.
I recently stumbled upon a thread about an article I wrote in regard to entrepreneurs being unhealthy, and one of the replies helped me grasp something…
Many entrepreneurs, mostly those just getting their feet wet, are under the impression health is a necessary sacrifice now in order to live well later…
And they’re basing this on the notion;
“Entrepreneurs live like most won’t now in order to live like most can’t later.”
Working harder at working smarter is one thing, but that has nothing to do with sacrificing your health. It’s important to understand the body wants every internal process to function in harmony.
When this happens, our energy, mental clarity and creative abilities operate at a much higher level.
As I mentioned in “Why Entrepreneurs Are Unhealthy & What To Do About It”, studies are showing successful entrepreneurs are healthier than most people.
They tend to eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise more, and take more self-responsibility.
Here’s what else they stick to…
20 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Immediately Improve Their Health
#1 Spend One Hour Outside Daily
Thomas Jefferson spent most of his waking hours at home working, but never failed to spend at least one hour outside per day.
Force yourself to go outside and get some fresh air, vitamin D and exercise. Just walk around the block a few times if you’re unable to venture to far from the computer.
#2 Improve What You Eat
In order to become the healthiest and strongest version of yourself, it’s ideal to eat nutritionally balanced meals with all natural, unprocessed ingredients.
These meals should consist of local and organic whole foods, herbs and spices.
I use a cool resource called Local Harvest to find farmers’ markets, organic family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in my area.
#3 Improve How You Eat
If you want to maintain healthy weight, high levels of energy and positive well being it’s critical to develop healthy eating habits!
I like to eat soon after waking up and stick to set eating times (ex: 9, 12, 5 & 8) throughout the day.
Also, thoroughly chewing your food and not drinking during and for up to an hour after a meal noticeably aids digestion.
#4 Improve Your Posture
Acknowledge how you’re sitting this very second.
Are both of your feet planted on the ground? Is your chest up and shoulders back?
When you correct your posture, you allow your spine to rise and your chest to open, which eases tension and helps the breath flow more freely. The oxygen can now penetrate more deeply into your lungs.
As you begin to take these deeper breathes you activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is lowering your stress hormone levels, healing your brain, and stimulating recovery and digestion.
#5 Open A Window
The quality of our air has a huge impact on our health.
As entrepreneurs, most of us spend quite a bit of time indoors in front of the computer.
New research shows that more than 99% of the bugs living inside us aren’t harmful, in fact, they’re beneficial; assisting our digestion, metabolism, and immunity.
Interestingly, one of the easiest ways to build your microbiome (the bugs living inside you), is simply opening a window.
But there’s even a tasty way to do it… with Kombucha of course.
#6 Stick To A Sleep Schedule
Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day forces your your body’s “internal clock” to expect sleep at a certain time each night.
Go to bed and get at least 8 but no more than 9 hours of sleep and wake up at the same time every day (for me it’s typically 11pm – 8am).
I’ll typically dim the lights an hour before bed and sleep in complete darkness which helps me fall asleep and stay asleep.
If you’re on the computer in the evening, I recommend installing the f.lux app as you’re probably affecting the quality of your sleep.
#7 Start Your Day With A Walk
Make it a priority to go for a morning walk before you start working. This primes you for the day, helps you sleep and lowers your stress levels.
Some of my best ideas have occurred on my morning walks.
#8 Take A Break and Move Around
Sitting for long periods of time is linked to obesity, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and excess body fat.
Walking and exercise in general releases endorphins, which quickly creates feelings of happiness and euphoria.
Instead of just flying from one task to the next, walk around the park or at least stretch in between to-do list items. Simple stretching, lunges or even walking up and down the stairs a couple times is a great way to recharge and refocus.
#9 Take Weekend Vacations
Reserve weekends for yourself.
Even though you work for yourself, and don’t have a morning commute, weekend rest should still be a priority. But this doesn’t necessarily mean lounging all day.
Take short mini-vacations. Get in your car and drive a couple of hours to the beach or forest.
Even if you feel you didn’t get enough work done during the week, and want to make up for it on the weekend, enjoy the fresh air and refocus while away from the computer.
#10 Take Walking Meetings
As entrepreneurs, we’re constantly networking and meeting new business contacts. Next time, suggest a walking meeting instead of a sit-down.
I love to meet people and walk around a park. This has helped me settle negotiations and left lasting impressions on some great people I now call friends.
It’s also a great excuse to get outside and get the blood flowing a bit.
You might find some who think you’re a nut, but I’ve found most professionals appreciate this refreshing approach to meetings.
#11 Don’t Eat Lunch At Your Desk
Lunch is a great opportunity to recharge, network and even stretch the legs.
You’re definitely busy, but you’re not so busy that you have to eat at your desk. Make it a point to take a lunch break.
#12 Drink More Water
Make water your primary beverage – it’s far and beyond the superior choice for entrepreneurs.
A 2% decrease in water saturation in your body will noticeably slow your thought process and ability to remember. If you need flavor, try adding fresh fruit and/or citrus to make it more appealing.
#13 Get A Massage
Massage therapy has been used for hundreds of years as alternative medicine and a way to promote health and well-being.
A weekly deep tissue massage helps me maintain relaxation, sleep better and keeps my muscles healthy and flexible.
#14 Limit “Time-suckers”
Set email answering and social media updates to certain times. You can get bogged down answering emails or checking out stories on Facebook.
Aside from allowing your audience to expect content at a certain time, you’re able to get on and do what you have to without being sucked into a juicy controversy or losing sleep over some new conspiracy you saw in your newsfeed…
Limiting time-suckers will allow you to get more done, which frees up time to exercise, socialize or simply relax.
#15 Do Light Exercise Around The House
There’s really a point of diminishing returns when you’re working all the time.
Your brain gets locked down to one way of thinking, and you’re simply not as productive as you’d be if you’re blood was flowing and you were engaging your entire body.
Take short, frequent breaks and utilize them to exercise throughout your day.
20 minutes of extended exercise or an hour of walking per day is great. But it’s even better to get up frequently from your desk and move around even if it’s only for 10 minutes.
Again, the whole 33 minutes on with 10 minutes off, seriously works wonders.
#16 Hire A Virtual Assistant
As entrepreneurs especially those of us just getting our feet wet with this whole “running my own business” thing, often end up doing much of the leg work ourselves.
This translates into working long 14-hour days, resulting in mental and physical exhaustion.
Outsourcing everything from office tasks to your social media presence can free up time to focus on health and the expansion and improvement of your business.
Here are 5 great resources to find reliable freelancers and virtual assistants to do just that:
#17 Challenge Yourself
Whenever you go out – to the store, the movies, or the mall – physically challenge yourself by parking farther away, taking the stairs and reaching with the opposite hand.
Each of these subtle actions results in stimulated muscles, increased blood-flow and calories burned.
#18 Find an Accountability Partner
A great way to stick to a workout program or healthy lifestyle is finding a partner. Whether it’s someone to go to yoga class with or somebody to text “crushed my work out!”
Having an accountability partner will help you stay committed and allow you to see better results in return.
Check out these 64 awesome health and fitness apps by Greatist.
#19 Set A Work and Play Schedule
If you’re chained to your desk all day, think about incorporating hikes, tea, games, yoga et cetera into your regular breaks.
I’ve adopted a great method allowing me to remain productive yet active and grounded throughout my day.
Working in 33 minute and 33 second (33.33) intervals seems to be the magic productivity number for me.
After each session, I take advantage of a 10-15 minute break by conversing with strangers, walking around the park, practicing yoga, doing push-ups and meditating.
#20 Be More Social – In Real Life
Having a positive sense of community is nearly as important to our health as exercise because the division of work, feeling of association and togetherness all help establish a healthy atmosphere and mindset.
With no separation between work and home life, and no one to answer to, an Internet entrepreneur isn’t forced to keep his body moving, to keep his mind alert, to maintain his appearance, or to do anything that would be socially ideal.
Remember, the most successful entrepreneurs combine great health with great business!