Physical Fitness and the CPA

By Piccone, Paul K. | The CPA Journal, August 1996 | Go to article overview

Physical Fitness and the CPA


Piccone, Paul K., The CPA Journal


As CPAs, we enjoy the rewards of being part of a profession. These include job satisfaction, prestige, continual challenge, and monetary reward. These come, however, at the expense of long hours, stressful situations, and an essentially sedentary lifestyle.

Being physically fit will prepare you to deal with the long hours and enable you to negate the effects of stress. Improved physical fitness can also increase self-esteem, and there are indications that regular physical exercise can help prevent or mitigate the effects of many conditions such as osteoporosis, hypertension, and diabetes.

The most common reason professionals give for not exercising is, "not enough time." If you really think about it, though, you can make time for anything to which you are committed, whether it's family, career, clients, or continuing education. Look at your appointment book and fill in the activities you must do in every hour. Notice where you have blank spotseven if for just a half hour. Couldn't you fit a short five to ten minute walk into that slot? Identify various available moments, and make appointments with yourself to exercise at those times Actually write the appointments into your book.

Develop a support network consisting of two sets of people. In the first set, include people who will exercise with you. Can you enlist the aid of neighbors, family members, or friends at work? Position exercise as a great adventure on which you are embarking. In the second set, include people who will give you ongoing encouragement to continue your fitness program, especially when time pressures are at their greatest. Enlist people who already exercise on a consistent basis to be your moral supporters. What about those who will try to discourage you? Explain to them that you are trying to develop healthy habits and that exercise is important to you. Ask them to join you and tell them that their support would be appreciated. Even if they won't support you, they will be more aware of your needs and presumably will not undermine your efforts.

What are you trying to gain from exercising? Lose weight, build muscle, or improve your overall health? If you write down specific goals, they will act as a beacon moving you in the right direction. Make goals you can chart so that you can see improvement as it occurs. Create a short-term plan for next month and one for a longer time period, say four or six months. Set realistic goals, such as walking five more minutes every week, or losing one pound of fat a month. Don't expect to lose 30 pounds in two weeks. As motivation, set a target date for accomplishing your goals. For optimal physical fitness, you should work up to performing cardiovascular exercise like walking or bicycling three to five times a week for 20 to 60 minutes. Of course, whatever exercise you do will provide health gains, so don't be concerned if you can't reach this frequency at first. If setting goals seems difficult, enlist the aid of an experienced exerciser, personal trainer, or fitness instructor. …

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