What is one habit nearly all highly-successful people seem to have in common?
Exercise has been credited as Richard Branson's No. 1 productivity secret and the No. 1 thing super-successful people do before 8 a.m.
Here are exercise habits for some of the world's most successful people:
- Barack Obama, president of the United States: Exercises for 45 minutes a day, six days per week. He exercises first thing in the morning, alternating between lifting weights one day and doing cardio the next.
- Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group: Wakes as early as 5 a.m. to kite surf, swim, or play tennis in the morning. He claims he gets four hours of additional productivity every day by keeping up with his consistent exercise schedule.
- Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook: Works out at least three days per week, usually in the form of taking his dog running first thing in the morning.
- Anna Wintour, Vogue editor-in-chief: Wakes up at 5:45 a.m. so she can play an hour of tennis every morning.
- Condoleeza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State: Gets up at 4:30 a.m. to get in 40 minutes of cardio, usually on a treadmill or elliptical machine.
- Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks: Does an hour of cardio per day, 6-7 days a week. He does the elliptical and stair gauntlet, plays basketball, and takes kickboxing and other aerobic classes at the gym.
- Tim Cook, CEO of Apple: Wakes at 4:30 a.m. and hits the gym several times per week. He also enjoys cycling and rock climbing.
Whether it's running, tennis, or kitesurfing, these highly-successful people clearly prioritize exercise into their busy schedules.
If starting (or sticking to) an exercise routine is on your New Year's resolution list, consider following public heath recommendations to get in some type of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for 30 minutes at least five days a week.
Here are some additional exercise tips for optimal brain performance that are outlined in John J. Ratey's best-selling book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.
Exercise certainly seems to sharpen the minds of today's top business leaders, and maybe it will help give you an edge in the new year as well!