Working Out for Better Finances
By Chuck Bentley
Today, I have some counter-intuitive advice to help you manage your finances better.
Russell Clayton, along with other colleagues, writing for the Harvard Business Review, introduced new research that demonstrates a clear relationship between physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and purposeful—in other words—exercise—and our ability to manage other aspects of our lives. I found it to ring true with my own experiences.
First, and least surprisingly, exercise reduces stress, and lower stress makes the time spent in other realms more productive and enjoyable. A reduction in stress is tantamount to an expansion of time. Reminds me of God’s advice not to worry.
Second, the survey found exercise increases self-efficacy. The term refers to the sense that one is capable of taking things on and getting them done. The research suggests that people who exercise regularly enjoy greater self-efficacy, and it carries over into other areas of their lives.
The study recommends we consider what form of regular exercise would work best for our schedules. Some people make it their habit to exercise prior to starting the workday because it’s so easy to find reasons not to exercise later in the day. Others benefit from a break in the workday, especially when they can take advantage of on-site workout facilities. Still others like the “wind down time” of exercising after work. Whatever time and setting you prefer, the key is to engage in a level of exercise that dissipates stress and adds to your sense of what you are capable of accomplishing.
I rise early and do painful workouts with my teenage boys. We really only do simple calisthenics, but they make me very sore! If you want to know what I do, just ask. It is not nearly as easy for me at 57 as for John at 16 and Luke at 14! I also try to take a long walk with my wife everyday. We usually go in the mornings. This routine keeps my energy levels high, my mind clear, and provides time to think and pray. I can also do every bit of my program when I travel.
This study also reminded me of the connection between tackling our financial challenges and God’s promise to provide us strength. In Philippians 4:13, Paul says, “ I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
I should mention two more things:
1. I have decided to change my eating habits this year—only water to drink and no desserts. So far, I have not cheated! This has also served to increase my reliance upon the Lord.
2. We have great solutions for those wanting to make progress towards your financial goals. We have biblical classes now online at Crown Connect like Creating a Spending Plan, Eliminating Debt, God’s Economy vs. Man’s Economy, and many others for a small monthly or yearly subscription. Get started today at Crown.org.
If you find that working out and staying fit is helping you in other areas of your life, share your encouragement with us here.
Originally posted 1/20/2015.