By Katrina M. Smith, MBA
Written July, 8, 2013
When athletes train, they train for their sport. The movements they do from strengthening exercises to drills are performed within the context of their sport. If a track & field athlete swims as a workout, they swim to reduce impact and improve strength/conditioning for their event. If a football player like Herschel Walker takes ballet lessons, he does so to improve their agility, strength, flexibility, and timing on the field. If a soccer player enters cross country, they run to improve their endurance and wind. Fans have seen this type of cross-sport integration for decades. I myself use gymnastics, bar calisthenics, and aquatic sports to work on my flexibility and strength. The combination of sports and movements seems to be working pretty well for my body.
Lately, I have been thinking about athletes and employees. Those of you reading may ask, what is the relationship? Why the thought? Well, take a moment to consider how the workplace is regarded. For many, the workplace is just work. However, from a business perspective, the workplace is a huge production. Each employee plays a part and occupies a position that is linked to a team. The owner/CEO expects each employee to perform at high productivity levels to maximize profits.
However, few workplaces are configured to encourage high productivity from people. Most employees sit all day in front of a computer typing away their health. Over time, their posture slumps and body becomes form fitted to the demands of that position. Consequently, as their physical sustainability wanes, their productivity levels gradually fall. Those who recognize their health is being impacted, are sometimes seen walking in the mornings or after work, in zumba classes or doing the latest workout fads. While this move is fine, these workout attempts are not chosen within the context of their performance. Let me explain: If you are sitting all day, your work plan should be written to support that lifestyle. Your workout should involve exercises to build your back, your abdominals, your glutes, your hips, and your groin to stay fit and reduce the likelihood of injury (i.e. back injuries and sciatica). If you have to shelve papers, boxes, or books, your workout should include exercises that build your arms, shoulders, neck, quads, hamstrings, claves, and feet. In other words, employees, like athletes, should train according to their performance. If you do a lot of walking during or outside of work hours, you need to include strengthening exercises that support that type of movement.
Train with the mindset of an athlete. The Insanity program, Herbalife beach runs, and Zumba classes are all great outlets. However, to sustain fitness and a lifetime of good health, approach these programs knowing the shape of your body is also related to your performance.