The importance of looking after your mental health, and retaining a sensible work-life balance, is dominating the news agenda right now.
Understandably so, as we seek to keep our heads above water against a backdrop of the bad-tempered ‘I want it now’ culture in an increasingly chaotic, fast-paced world.
A happy and healthy person is always a more productive person – motivated, energised, and full of exciting ideas.
You know what they say – a healthy body equals a healthy mind. Exercise has a positive impact on people’s business, and everyday lives.
It’s quite an eye-opener to glance through the current list of best-selling non-fiction books and find more than half are on the subject of health, fitness or diet.
Even the Labour party’s former deputy leader, Tom Watson, is in on the act – clearly his ‘Downsizing’ book has proved a bigger hit than his party’s general election manifesto!
All of this means there’s certainly no shortage of evidence out there to point you in the direction of finding a happy balance. Too often, though, they just tell you what you should be doing, rather than offering you practical suggestions on how best to achieve it.
This is traditionally the time when sign-ups at the local gym hit their peak, as people return from evaluating their lives over the Christmas break and vow to start anew during the first couple of months of the year.
But if it’s really going to work for you, it has to be a lifestyle choice, and not simply something triggered by the turning of a calendar. Getting fit, and keeping fit, needs to be done in a fun, sociable, and time-efficient manner. Find somewhere you can enjoy quality, recreational fun with the whole family, and you are surely onto a winner.
I hear people say: “I know I need to improve my health and fitness, but I’m too busy – there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.”
Nonsense. Let’s break it down . . . there are 168 hours in a week, 56 of which will be typically spent sleeping. Take off 40 hours at work as an average, another 20 for mealtimes, and you’ve still got more than 50 blank hours in your diary for family and leisure time (give or take the odd chore).
If there’s something you want to watch on the telly, your favourite football team is at home, or there’s a new movie out at the cinema, you find time, don’t you? Well, that same attitude needs to apply to your fitness.
Chances are, many of your friends or co-workers are in the same boat as you: They want to exercise, but have trouble finding the time.
So, what if you suggest moving the weekly progress update or brainstorming session out of the air-conditioned meeting room to the local park?
Can your team walk to the coffee shop, rather than ordering in? Might you woo a new client over a tennis or squash match, instead of three-course? You never know, all that fresh air and those endorphins may spark more creative ideas.
We’re taking all of these ideas on board as we near the final stages of kitting out our huge new M Club, right next door to Waterworld in Stoke on Trent. (Pictured above)
It’s the next exciting phase of our plan to create a giant health and leisure ‘resort’ at Festival Park, designed to motivate families to combine their family and leisure time so they can exercise in a fun and very sociable atmosphere.
Because fitness and exercise comes in many forms. It would be interesting to see how many calories are burned by people who take on our huge new Tornado Alley rides at Waterworld, for example. I bet it would surprise you. In fact, hold that thought: I’m going to set up a few experiments to find out over the coming months . . . so watch this space!
Motivation, I believe, is the key to all of this. Value for money is important too, of course, but the 21st century punter dwells more than ever on the quality of their spend, and whether it’s enriching their lives.
You can be cash-poor and time-rich – idly looking for things to fill the day – or you can be cash-rich and time-poor, working all hours God sends, but finding yourself so stressed-out and highly strung that you’ve forgotten how to wind down.
If you can plot a happy medium course somewhere between those two extremes, and be prepared to think outside the box when it comes to managing your time, I reckon you’ll certainly be on the right track.
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