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Law and Life

Blending a Fitness Routine into a Lawyer’s Schedule

American Bar Endowment

There is a growing awareness of the importance of nutrition and fitness to counteract the effects of sugary diets and sedentary living. The quotes below from The Obesity Crisis, a recent McKinsey & Company blog post, capture the essence of today’s obesity problem:

  • “More than 2.1 billion people—nearly 30 percent of the global population—are overweight or obese. That’s nearly two-and-a-half times the number of people who are undernourished.”
  • “Today, one in twelve of the global adult population has type 2 diabetes[, . . . which is] both preventable and reversible with lifestyle changes. A U.S. study found that a 7 percent weight loss accompanied by moderate physical activity decreased the number of new diabetes cases by 58 percent among the high-risk population.”

Although the causes of obesity are complex, many of the solutions involve increasing activity levels and improving eating habits.

Lawyers and Fitness

A lawyer’s life can be hectic and can demand long hours, making it way too easy to say, “I don’t have time today.” The expert recommendations below should help time-challenged lawyers squeeze fitness activities into busy schedules.

From an ABA Journal podcast featuring Olympic-level exercise physiologists James Herrera and Sharon McDowell-Larsen:

  • Stay active. Make sure you get up every hour to move around. As you go through your day, make a point of walking, taking the stairs, and standing part of the day.
  • If there’s no time for a full aerobic routine, short activities can be squeezed in between meetings and appointments. A simple core conditioning circuit including stretches, push-ups, pull-ups, etc., can be condensed into 10- to 12-minute segments that, done consistently, add up over time.
  • Consider working with a coach or personal trainer, someone you’re accountable to who also helps to guide your workouts. A personal trainer works with you at the gym to put you through a workout. A coach might write up a workout for you to follow and then discuss your progress with you periodically.
  • When exercise and healthy eating become a lifestyle, lawyers have more energy, sleep better, and cope better with stress. Feeling great can become a huge motivator that helps people make healthy living a priority.

Attorney Kimberly Whaley, in collaboration with personal trainer Michael Okumura, put together these suggestions for the Ontario Bar Association’s Just magazine:

  • Choose a convenient, time-efficient fitness activity and location. Is there space to exercise at your firm? Is there a gym nearby or on your commute, or would working out at home fit better?
  • Keep fitness attire and toiletries in your office or your car so there are no excuses.
  • At Whaley’s firm, all the lawyers use stand-up desks to help with fitness and posture.
  • Consider firm fitness events or joining other sole practitioners in community races or group training sessions. Working out with others and creating a fitness and health culture at your firm increases motivation for everyone.
  • “You don’t find time, you make time. Be realistic in your expectations; set aside space in your calendar as personal time intended to be largely unassailable. Manage it.”

The American Bar Endowment (ABE) is a sponsor of the ABA Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division. Neither the ABA nor ABA entities endorse non-ABA products or services. This column should not be construed as an endorsement.

ABE, a 501(c)3 public charity, supports good works of importance to the public and the legal profession through grants made possible by sponsoring insurance plans for attorneys. ABE also creates posts for the ABE blog (blog.abendowment.org) and the ABA Young Lawyers Division Fit2Practice initiative (tinyurl.com/zjsdna4). For more, go to abendowment.org.