Clare Scott – Sport and business: Your new high-performance partners

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Ah, summer. There’s no guarantee of endless days of sunshine but one thing’s certain: sport will soon be everywhere – from big international tournaments on our TV screens to community events and highland games. In Aberdeen, we also have our first Great Run series to look forward to in August.

Exercise is good for us – that’s a no-brainer. However, there’s growing evidence that those who participate in sport can also reap the business benefits.

Positivity and productivity

Many of those who exercise regularly do so for the feel-good factor as well as the physical benefits. Activity helps bump up the production of the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters – endorphins – which can help to manage stress levels or anxiety. A lunchtime run after a tough morning may well help you to cope with the demands of a full-on afternoon.

Timing and team working

Don’t think you’ve got time for sport? Carve some out if you can: research by British Universities and Sport (BUCS) found that employers favoured sporting students as they’d developed the ability to balance their academic and sporting commitments, as well as honing their team-working and decision making skills. Such traits were all seen as being easily transferable to the workplace.

Setting goals and dealing with setbacks

Clicked on that form to enter the Great Aberdeen half marathon? Chances are that your second action was to download a training plan. The discipline of setting goals and working towards them in sport is another skill that’s exceptionally useful in business life. Anyone who’s ever suffered with a sporting injury will also know a thing or two about dealing with setbacks. Back to the BUCS, who reported that “the best student athletes are also versatile, with an ability to improvise when things don’t go to plan”.

Build it in

If all this seems a bit too serious, consider small changes that you can build into your business day. Ariana Huffington, Mark Zuckerburg and the late Steve Jobs are but three high-profile business people who advocate the walking meeting. There’s a raft of evidence to support the evils of hunching over a computer terminal all day; enter the standing desk, which is being introduced among enlightened organisations where employee wellbeing is seen as essential to business success.

Have a great summer of sport – and business – ahead.

Clare Scott is a Communications Consultant and founder of CJS Communication & Marketing

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