Think of all the demands we put on ourselves every day, especially related to our leadership roles. Early wake-up times and long hours of productivity are so common we hardly consider the energy required. As well as physical and emotional needs, leaders use brain power to strategize, communicate effectively with others, and to problem-solve. Yes, there is such a thing as needing to fuel your brain.
Although the average adult human brain weighs about 1.4 kilograms, only 2 percent of total body weight, it needs 20 percent our resting metabolic rate (RMR)—the total amount of energy our bodies expend in a day of rest, no activity. If we assume an average resting metabolic rate of 1,300 calories, then the brain consumes 260 of those calories just to keep things in order.
Maybe you spend most of the day sitting, so you think you must have plenty of calories on hand to burn. Will your brain power be revved up and ready when you most need it? Actually, studies show that students who did some moderate exercise before an exam performed better.
Overall fitness doesn’t have to mean joining a gym or training to run a marathon. Dial back your ideas of health improvements to small, next steps that are doable. Going for a walk out in nature is universally recognized as an activity that supports all aspects of health. The point to ponder is, just how well does your body, fitness level, and diet support the demands of your roles in life?
The more intentional you are about tuning your body and mind to effectively and efficiently fuel all of your daily efforts, the more powerful your leadership engine. Your health is something you have influence over. Put your health consciousness in the context of improving or hindering your leadership success. Say yes to being the best leader you can be by treating your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health as your utmost priority.