10 Reasons Why Being Fit Helps You Be a Better CFO

:cfo exercisepng-01CFO’s, who exercise during the day feel more productive. They’re also less likely to rant at employees and slam shut a door off its h after they’ve worked up a sweat. It’s no secret that the positive effects of exercise aren’t limited to shaping the body.  Anyone who has spent a day at the office, checkout counter or construction site knows that your mood greatly influences your work performance. Exercise is something of a magic potion here; employees who exercise report positive effects including willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions, less temper tantrums, lower levels of anxiety and depression, heightened morale and a greater sense of calmness.

You know that getting regular exercise is good for your cardiovascular health. You may even know that it elevates your mood. But did you know it also makes you a more effective leader?

1. It improves your outlook on life.

Exercise can stop extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness from influencing your decisions. When you are the CFO of a company, you rarely shut off completely. Whether you are checking emails at midnight, or having meetings with clients on weekends, you simply don’t have much time to clear your head. Being available 24/7 is good for your company, but not necessarily for your judgment or sanity. Sometimes it takes stepping away from something to get the best possible result.

2. It serves as a creativity boost.

Working out while being alone with your thoughts enhances creative awareness. You are more mentally sharp and more physically settled at the same time. Your decision-making process is enhanced by working out because it makes you more relaxed and at ease.

3. It helps you make better decisions.

When you’re in an executive position, such as a CFO, it can lead to you being over-committed, or taking on projects that aren’t a good fit. Exercising can help ensure that you always work with the right people, because balancing physical activity with work provides clarity. It brings a sense of meditative calm and a heightened sense of awareness. You’ll find your thoughts and focus during exercise settling on the most important priorities in your life.

4. It can get you through a difficult task.

It helps you to mentally prepare for your day and it’s the perfect time to work out issues and review processes and operations.

5. Fitness blocks mental fatigue.

In addition to waking you up and helping you become more alert, it can actually increase the amount of space you have in your brain to think about things. It can even affect “brain flexibility,” or the ability to change your line of thinking and adapt to new situations faster. So the next time you’re exercising, remember that it might help you pay attention better during those long meetings or think on your feet during a presentation.

6. Exercise helps your brain grow.

Your brain is like a muscle. The more you use it, the more it grows. But if you don’t use it, it will start to deteriorate. So keep jogging around the block. It doesn’t matter how slow you jog – you’re lapping everyone on the couch. In fact,exercise actually engage more brain cells than many other activities. Though you might not realize it, you’re giving your brain a workout along with your body when you exercise.

7. It Drives Confidence.

The most effective and influential CFO’s exude confidence. Being fit builds self-confidence and self-esteem.  CFO’s with low self-esteem can bring a defensive posture, a failure to recognize others or encourage mistakes, as well as a curt tone that discourages idea sharing into the workplace (unknowingly stifling the growth of others).  As exercise begins to have positive change on our bodies, it shows up in the mirror and through compliments from those around you. As you start to feel better about yourself, confidence shows up at home and in the office. And so does a different attitude…this changes everything.  

8. It’s Infectious.

People who have successfully transformed their physical and emotional shape are admired, as it requires courage, discipline and perseverance.  The achievement alone can inspire others, but more importantly, it establishes an example for personal growth that others will want to follow.  

9. It leads to bad habits being replaced by good habits.

 When hard work pays off, it’s rewarding. If you’re looking for a starting point to big change, exercise is it.  Building lean muscle mass and cardiovascular health is the sustainable path to long-term health. As you begin to feel physically and emotionally transformed, the positive results hardwire exercise as a habit.  Generally speaking, we all want more of a good thing and exercise is a spark to other healthy habits; most commonly, better nutrition and eating habits. Subconsciously, the more we exercise and improve our health, the less we want to do anything to damage the strong body we are building.  

10. It Unlocks Influence.

Exercise releases feel good chemicals called endorphins in your brain that reduce stress and anxiety. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine, but slightly less addictive. We all have become accustomed to heavy doses of daily stress which impact us personally and the people around us. As CFO, unmanaged stress can have a negative effect on people skills, detracting from our influence. A yoga session at the gym can quickly diminish heavy stress (because punching people is frowned upon), leaving you calm, cool and collected to be at your influential-best with people who matter.

More Resources