In all seriousness, a big part of having a successful law practice can be staying healthy. The life of an attorney is often full of fast food, long hours, looming deadlines and overwhelming stress. As mentioned in our Pulitzer Prize groundbreaking article about Treadmill Desks, just take a stroll around your local courthouse and you will see what I like to call the "Barrister Belly." An unhealthy attorney is usually less productive. If you are taking lots of sick days or simply lack energy, you probably produce less billable hours than your more healthy colleagues. Wondering why you didn't get that promotion? Maybe your lack of energy shows.
It is particularly troublesome for solo practioners who simply cannot afford to miss time out of work. If you are in solo practice, you know how hard it is to take even a day off from work, let alone an entire vacation. Studies suggest that 84% of medical claims are the result of poor diet and lack of exercise. The United States Surgeon General maintains that you should walk 10,000 steps per day for good health. Unfortunately, most of us would rather sit through the worst television program imaginable rather than get up to look for the remote. Besides, who has time to get to a gym when you are chained to a desk?
I am not writing this from the viewpoint of a fitness guru. I know there are lawyers out there who run marathons, climb mountains and play tennis. I am not one of them. I drive to my mailbox. When I get home, I usually watch reruns of Magnum PI while eating a loaded up grinder (hero, sub, wedge: depending on where you are in the country). I invent new ways to combine twinkies and oreos. I consider pizza sauce a vegetable. Although I don't recall what they look like inside, I am a proud member of several gyms in both Connecticut and New York. As you can imagine, I am writing for the normal lazy schlubs out there.
In our own firm, many of our staffers had no inclination or time to go to the gym. With a tight economy, no one wanted to invest in a gym membership let alone a personal trainer. We did notice, however, that many of the staffers with kids owned the Nintendo Wii. As a result, we decided to take a novel approach to improving the health of our staff. We purchased a few copies of EA Sports Active for them. I even went out and bought a Nintendo Wii for myself. If you are not familiar with EA Sports Active, it is basically a personal trainer for your home. As a member of the Pac Man generation, it was perfect for me. As long as I viewed it as a video game, maybe I would stick with it.
When you load EA Sports Active, the game allows you to input your name, height, and weight. You are then given the ability to create your player which can pretty much be a version of yourself. Most of our staffers decided to undergo the 30 day challenge (a series of 20 customized workouts). Exercises include a mix of running, cardio routines, boxing, volleyball, baseball, tennis, bicep curls, rollerblading, squats, lunges, etc. etc. I really worked up a sweat.
It is either a testament to the game's intense exercise regime or an indication of my complete lack of stamina. The game also includes a journal function that tracks your progress as well as a list of healthy living surveys. It even allows you to record activities you do outside the game such as walking, jogging or frantically running to the clerk's office to file a motion before five.
Although you'd probably get a better work out at a gym, Sports Active seems like a decent alternative. You can substitute the provided bands with heavier weights and you can control the intensity of your workouts. More importantly, it is something you can do with your family. It might be enough to encourage you to continue with the program. Just do it with the shades drawn. You probably don't want your neighbors watching you wave your arms around like a complete lunatic.
Since starting our Wii program, I have noticed a positive change in our staff. Everyone seems to have a little more spring in their step. I myself have a little more energy coming into work. I am not as tired at the end of the day and find myself getting to the office earlier. And I feel like I'm getting more work done. My focus is better. It goes without saying, exercise keeps your mind sharp. So get off your res ipsa loquitur and get into shape. Your practice will benefit from it.