Regular Exercising, Good Food, Equals Good Leader
Garth Viljoen of Vision Quest Africa.
Presidential advisor on media John Nagenda after a cricket game recently.

Regular Exercising, Good Food, Equals Good Leader

Before work your health comes first.

By Gerald Businge
more from author >>
First published: December 3, 2005

Engaging in regular physical exercises and eating nutritious foods are prerequisites of leaders and managers who want to perform to their best level at their workplaces.

This is according to Garth Viljoen, a health and fitness expert from South Africa. He says that leaders and managers should exercise regularly and eat well if they are to deliver services to the public in a more effective way.

Viljoen was speaking on Friday after a one-week training of Makerere University administrative and academic staff at Imperia Botanical Beach Hotel in Entebbe.

The Makerere staff members were attending a three-day workshop on Leadership and Management Dynamics.

Viljoen says that regular exercises lead to good physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual well-being, which in turn makes a person to do work more efficiently.

He recommends that observing one hour of exercises for at least three day per week is vital for every individual and especially a leader who wants to have good health. Garth says the exercise should be ongoing and take an absolute maximum of one hour per day.

Viljoen says many leaders spend a lot of public money going for treatment or go absent from work for many days because of diseases like high blood pressure, heart attacks, stress among others, which could be avoided if they exercised regularly and ate well.

He says people should have what he called a balanced exercise regime incorporating the use of the three system of the body i.e. cardio-vascular system, the muscular-skeletal system as well as the venous system in appropriate percentages.

Where is the link between exercises and good leadership/management?
“We need to take responsibility individually for our health. We realize that the better the physical body is equipped to meet the demands that are placed on it, the less likely that situations like stress, heart attacks, strokes will occur,” Viljoen says.

Apart from exercising regularly, Viljoen says those who want to be better leaders need to observe good nutrition practices because incorrect nutrition results into manifestation of diseases like cancer, diabetes, mental diseases like depression among other ailments.

“What is happening more and more today is that in conferences, meetings, government departments, because of the need to prepare quick meals, many individuals are compromising their health. Some do it because they opt for foods that satisfy the palate, like candy, cakes, refined foods, high sugar foods and soft drinks, but have a high concentration of carbohydrates. They are not good for your body,” Viljoen advises.

He says people should instead eat unsaturated carbohydrates found in foods like potatoes, matooke and yam, among other foods, and take a lot of vegetables, fruits and fish.

The expert from the South Africa based leadership and management consulting firm, Vision Quest Africa, says that apart from the positive impact of exercises and good nutrition to a leader at the work place, if a leaders is healthier, he or she can contribute more positively to their families and society as a whole.

“If you are a better leader, you are less stressed, can have good quality relationships, be at peace, the better you are at things like team work, cooperation which are at the heart of our organizations and departments,” Viljoen says.

He says that since most of today’s leaders are in high-pressure jobs, they should be looking for strategies to improve their health, not only physical health, but mental, social, spiritual and emotional health, all of which are helped by exercising and good nutrition.

Viljoen says that great leaders like former South Africa President Nelson Mandela, 76, and Julius Nyerere (RIP) of Tanzania had their abilities boosted by regular exercising.

“Mandela used to be an avid boxer, even his nutrition habits are exclusive of refined foods. Up to this day, he always insists on fruits. Nyerere who died at 77 used to be an avid bicycle cyclist and kept that going far into his life,” he told us.

Types of exercises recommended for you

  1. Cardio-vascular exercises: These impact on the blood circulation system i.e. the heart, the lungs and the venous system.
  2. Muscular strength and endurance exercises: This involves weight-bearing exercises. It improves everyday functionality of the body for the young and old alike. It is a good preventive measure to diseases that are now becoming common, diseases like osteoporosis. This is a degenerative born disease; where the sufferer’s bones become brittle and break easily.
  3. Strength/agility exercises: Mainly concerned with flexibility. These help us to be less susceptible to injury and enable us to heal faster.

By Gerald Businge
more from author >>
First published: December 3, 2005
To learn more about Ultimate Media Consult go to

Gerald Businge is a media practitioner and features Editor at Ultimate Media Consult in Uganda. He is a graduate of Mass Communication and several journalism and leadership certificates. He has been a practicing journalist since March 2001 and has worked at The New Vision as features writer, and has written extensively for different newspapers, magazines, newsletters in Uganda and internationally. He currently does fulltime media communication consultancy work as well as writing and editing at Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd where he is a founding member and CEO. You can get his attention so long as you are interested in and you are working for a better world.

UGPulse does not give medical advice. You should seek that from your doctor.