ISSUE How can we cope with day-to-day work pressure if we lack energy and stamina? That's why it's important to make exercise a way of life, says APARNA KARTHIKEYAN
You might not care for Audrey Hepburn's tiny waist; you may snort at Brad Pitt's sculpted abs; but surely, you want to be successful in whatever you're doing?
Any article with ‘exercise' and ‘benefits' in the title usually invites scorn. What, you might wonder, can anybody say that hasn't already been said? Of course, everybody knows how supremely beneficial exercising is. It keeps you not just alive, but healthy-alive; it makes you happy and sleepy, at the right times; it trims your waist and clears your head. But still, we find excuses — approximately ten for every benefit — to avoid the visit to the gym, the quick sprint around the garden, the walk to the vegetable shop. And that is precisely why we've decided to give you an indisputable reason to wear your track pants and gym sneakers. Exercise, you see, can actually help you succeed.
“We all understand that the success of a software programme is dependent not only on the quality of the software but also the capacity of the processor. We're aware that even Schumacher is successful only because he drives a Ferrari and not any sub-standard vehicle,” says Gita Krishna Raj, CEO, Maverick fitness studios and Holistic Lifestyle Coach, C.H.E.K Institute, USA. “However, somewhere along the way, we have forgotten that without our body performing at its optimum level, success remains a relative perception. And that it has meaning only when it enhances the quality of your life, which translates as being healthy. Need I emphasise that consistent exercise is most certainly the highway to health?”
Exercise has always been linked to agility, and considered the best stress-buster, but lately, the definition has been stretched to include success.
According to Gita, when performed correctly, exercise enhances not merely cardiovascular and muscular strength but also one's neural drive, reflexes and clarity of mind. It literally makes you ‘feel alive'.
“A combination of physical and mental exercise contributes to success; it helps you stay focussed on the end results and work towards it,” says Sangeeta Shankaran Sumesh, vice-president, Dun & Bradstreet Transunion ADS. “Exercising keeps you fresh, and maintains your energy levels through the day. Being a working mum, my office is on Old Mahabalipuram Road, I think exercise is where my energy comes from. I'm far from knackered when I return home. I go back to the kids, and help them with their homework and projects.”
Look and feel good
One of the most obvious and visible effects of regular, moderate exercise is looking and feeling good. Not surprisingly, these are the very traits that single out the successful people from the rest — they walk with a spring in their step, ooze confidence, and show untiring enthusiasm long after others look frayed with fatigue. “When you feel great, like you most certainly would on a balanced exercise programme, you automatically look good and attract positive energy to your every day life,” agrees Gita. “I have never seen a morose, unhappy, ill-looking successful person. Let me put it this way, if he is any of that, the world wouldn't call him successful even if he had loads of money,” she adds
The rules, however, do not begin and end in the corporate or business world; it applies to homemakers as well, says Sangeeta. “You need energy and stamina to successfully run your home.” Time, she agrees, is a factor, but she says she usually manages to squeeze in an hour at the gym or to do yoga. “I love going to the gym and doing yoga; I almost never miss doing my breathing exercises. I think if you organise yourself and prioritise properly, it is possible. Just do whatever you enjoy. Even a walk will do because if you think going to the gym is a drag, then there is clearly no point in doing so,” she says.
“The purpose of life,” Gita neatly sums up, “is not to exercise. But you need to exercise and be healthy so that the purpose of your life can be achieved. Remember, without this body your dream can never become a reality.”