The path to success is long and hard. Exercise and good physical health are key for achieving eventual success. A commitment to improve your health is not just good in and of itself; it also aids in building discipline needed to advance your career.

Endurance is the first (and most obvious) benefit of exercise. It builds stamina, gives you energy, and it makes it easier to go harder for longer. And not just at physically demanding tasks. Let’s face it. Our jobs today are not what we as humans were made for. Evolution gave us the tools to hunt and gather, not to sit staring at a computer screen for dozens of hours a week.

But building endurance does not just mean that you can run farther, swim faster or lift more. Your brain is part of your body that benefits from exercise too. Numerous studies show the positive effects of exercise on your mind. It makes you more creative, allows you to concentrate for longer and improves your memory.  If exercise could be condensed into a pill, it would be the most sought-after mind and body enhancing drug.

Exercise also improves your perception of things. It takes hard work, and the fruits are not harvested immediately. It is like a garden that takes care, consistency, and time to cultivate. It gives you a new perspective of how long things might take, but with the knowledge that you will reach your goals if you work towards them a little every day.

Exercise creates a chemical cascade in your brain too. You are a simple creature who will do what makes you feel good. Your brain know that. That’s why it releases endorphins, serotonin and dopamine – the happiness chemicals – when you exercise. It gives you a positive mental attitude and makes you determined to overcome the challenges you face. It motivates you and makes you a more pleasant colleague to work with.

Exercising also makes it easier to network and meet people. Early morning spin classes in your city’s business district can give you some valuable contacts. Regularly playing tennis at the local club can open up opportunities you might otherwise miss.  As an added bonus, you will have fun. You will look forward to getting you daily dopamine hit. There is hardly a better feeling than showering after a tough workout, knowing you gave it your all.

An exercise routine is the best way to reap all these benefits. Building it up will be hard to begin with, but the results will reward you. Consistency and discipline must be your watchwords. Choose a time to work out and stick to it. Exercising out before work in the morning can wake you up far better than a Starbucks coffee. After work, it is perfect to reflect and relax.

Choose an exercise that you enjoy. You can even build it into your commute (or as a replacement for it). Cycling to work or running around the local park are great ways to get  ready for the day ahead or delineating work time from home life if you are working remotely. Yoga, running, or swimming are all great places to start as well.

It won’t be easy, but it will help you build discipline. It will give you the stamina, ability, and mindset to reach your goals and perform to your potential. Time to lace up your running shoes.