The One Habit That All Successful People Have in Common
Successful people seem to be able to keep going when the rest have called it a day. They show incredible stamina, seemingly working from sunrise until end of play. It’s no coincidence—they all keep themselves physically and mentally fit through exercise.
We all know that exercise is good for us. But it’s easy to underestimate the part it plays in boosting memory, concentration and mental sharpness. Just 10 minutes of exercise a day can improve your health, experts say.
"Your body responds very positively, very quickly to even small amounts of exercise," says Tim Church, MD, PhD, and the lead author of a study by Pennington Biomedical Research Center. "If you're sedentary, you'll see a lot of your greatest gains going from zero to 10 minutes a day."
As you’ll see from the following examples of how successful people keep fit and active, the trick is to make it work for you:
1. Warren Buffet, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway
It’s well documented that Buffet loves the type of food and drink that comes with a health warning. As the 87-year-old billionaire puts it, he eats “like a six year old.” This includes drinking up to five Cokes a day—which might have something to do with owning $16 billion in Coca-Cola stock—having a hot dog for lunch and maybe a hamburger for dinner.
To counteract his penchant for unhealthy food and drink, he works up a sweat. He doesn’t overdo it, but it’s helped him to regain his health after beating prostate cancer in 2015.
2. Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief, U.S. Vogue
It’s claimed that Wintour is at her happiest when she’s playing tennis. That might explain why she hits the court at 5:45 a.m. every morning for one hour of tennis. As you might expect, she’s serious about the sport she loves.
“She’s like a retriever [on the court],” her instructor Byron Spence told The New York Times. “She’s so fast. She’ll chase down everything. She doesn’t hit with a lot of spin, but she has an amazing cross-court forehand.”
3. Robert Wessman, chairman and CEO, Alvogen
Wessman says that he has a “fierce competitive streak” which has seen him compete in sport since an early age. In recent years, cycling has been his go-to form of exercise—but a major accident on his bike a few years ago, which left him bedridden for three months, nearly put a stop to exercise altogether.
“Doctors told me that there was a slim chance that I would walk again. That’s when my determination kicked in. I treated the months of intense rehabilitation as a project and never gave up on making a full recovery.”
He did make a full recovery, and was up and cycling again before too long. But, his family have encouraged him to take more spin classes since the accident—something he has begrudgingly agreed to.
4. Richard Branson, founder, Virgin Group
When asked what the secret to success and productivity is, Branson answered with “work out.” In fact, he reckons exercise is worth four additional hours of productivity every day, as per Tim Ferris’ 2010 book The 4-Hour Body.
Branson exercises through a broad range of activities, including swimming, Bikram Yoga, rock climbing, running and weightlifting. "I definitely can achieve twice as much by keeping fit," Branson told FourYourBodyPress. "It keeps the brain functioning well."
5. Oprah Winfrey, media mogul
On her website, Winfrey breaks down her exercise routine—it’s not for the faint hearted. She’ll do 45 minutes of cardio six mornings a week, four to five strength-training sessions a week, incline crunches, and stretching.
Also, four or five evenings a week, Winfrey will squeeze in an additional 20-minute workout. As her website puts it: “These sessions gave Oprah a chance to reflect on her progress toward her goals.”
Exercise not only sets successful people up for the day, it also helps them to switch off and reflect at the end of it.While you might not feel like you can exercise to the extent that Winfrey or Branson does, bear in mind that the more exercise you do, the more energy you will have. You might just find that you sleep better, too—which is good for those who struggle to switch off at night.