The importance of staying healthy when you run a business cannot be overstated. Not only do you need to feel good while you keep your business running, other people count on you, as well. Take some precautions, such as the ones below, to make sure your health is in the best condition possible.

1. Find ways to reduce day-to-day stress

Stress may not seem like a serious ailment, but the fact is that it can lead to a variety of diseases. It's the health epidemic of the 21st century, according to the World Health Organization.1 And, according to AARP, stress can lead to weight gain, depression, slower healing, colds, sleep problems, ulcers, back/shoulder pain, and even heart disease.2

Being an entrepreneur can be extremely stressful. You have many hats to wear each day in order to keep your business running efficiently, and the success or failure of your operation ultimately falls upon your shoulders. Combine that with the fact that your employees also rely on your for their own livelihoods, and it's enough to put one on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

That's why you should work to take the stress out of your day. You'll never be able to eliminate 100 percent of stressors, but you can look for small adjustments that make things easier on yourself. This may mean delegating certain tasks to your team or utilizing software to automate other tasks. The point is, look for solutions to the problems that are stressing you out.

2. Make time to work out

Entrepreneurs are busy, and that means working long hours and sacrificing other aspects of their lives. Don't let exercise be one of those sacrifices. Exercise directly correlates with better health. It can help prevent numerous health problems associated with obesity and lack of activity. You don't have to go to the gym, but make sure you're getting in some form of exercise each day, whether it's before work, after work, or during breaks. Working out or walking/running can be a good time to clear the mind and make room for new ideas. Wear an activity tracker to make sure that you’re not sitting all day without getting some exercise, even if it’s a walk at lunch time.

3. Change your desk

Sitting is often called "the new smoking," and for good reason. We, as a society, sit too much each day, especially those who work in office settings. That's a lot of inactivity, which translates to a lack of exercise. Consider getting a standing desk or one that can adjust from sitting to standing. That way, you won’t be sitting, inactive, all day as you work. You might also consider replacing your office chair with a stability ball, which engages your core muscles and helps you burn calories while you work.

4. Drink more water

Water is obviously the most important fluid your body ingests. Getting enough water provides lots of benefits, while not getting enough can contribute to a plethora of ailments. Medical News Today3 lists the following benefits of drinking water:

  • Lubricates joints
  • Helps form saliva/mucus
  • Delivers oxygen throughout the body
  • Improves skin health/beauty
  • Cushions brain, spinal cord, other sensitive tissues
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Improves digestive health
  • Flushes body waste from tissues
  • Helps maintain blood pressure
  • Makes minerals/nutrients accessible
  • Helps prevent kidney damage
  • Boosts exercise performance
  • Helps with weight loss

5. Ditch fast food

As you live your busy work life, you may reach for convenience over health when it comes to your diet. Don't get caught up in the fast food lifestyle. Take time to prepare your own meals, and pay attention to the ingredients in the food you eat. You can improve your health and feel better by cutting out problematic ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. If you really don’t have time to cook, consider one of the many services that deliver healthy meals to your door, either fresh or frozen.

6. Get enough sleep

If the hours you work are impacting the amount of sleep you're getting, it's time to figure out a new schedule. Otherwise, both your mental and physical health might suffer.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says, "The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as a car crash), or it can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others."4

7. Take a vacation…..or staycation

Don't forget to go on vacation at least once a year. Even if you don't take a trip, giving yourself a few days off…a staycation… from time to time gives you a chance to unwind and recharge, which is good for your mental health, and will help you focus better once you return.

By taking care of yourself, you’ll not only enjoy better physical and mental health, but your business will likely be healthier as well.