Good Leadership: A healthy body fuels your creativity, special guest Beth Frates MD

Good leadership is about self-leadership. One of the elements of self-leadership is maintaining a proper lifestyle and maintain one’s health. 

How did you get started into lifestyle medicine?

Back in the day when I was mentally preparing to be the 3rd generation in the family business, I learnt that my father was harbouring a few diseases inside him! These are the silent diseases like high blood pressure. You don’t realise they are there. This affected me and resulted in me making a complete change where my career was concerned. It brought home the purpose of wanting to lead people to thrive and have healthy lifestyles.

In leadership having good health comes from understanding and living a healthy lifestyle. Doing that involves taking care of the body, mind and heart. Its what brings about effectiveness in leadership.

It starts with understanding the value of taking time-out. It allows one to check in with self and actually do checks that help rejuvenate oneself. 

A key check is about moving our bodies. Research has shown us this. For a leader you need creativity. One of the concepts is called divergent thinking. Researchers at Stanford studied this coupled with 20 minutes of walking and 20 minutes of sitting. The data shows that after walking divergent thinking goes up 60%. Other research show that we can get into the alpha or theta level brain activity after exercising. To get strategic and creative thinking going, as a leader, it’s key to be exercising.

The other key lifestyle input is to give yourself enough sleep. Sleep deprivation impact’s reaction time. So, appreciating sleep and giving oneself enough sleep impacts the body and mind positively. Sleep is foundational in one’s health, happiness, creativity, and productivity.

Leaders are passion and purpose driven. In order to keep those going it’s important for them to take steps to honour their own body, mind, and soul. Doing this everyday it becomes a question of what’s priority and how much time is is will I spend on that priority. So, it drives you to make time for it. Instead of reacting to everything that comes and takes up one’s time. The last bit is creating social connections such that, as a leader, you mentor and grow people who carry your ideas forward. This takes energy and how one maintains that energy is what matters.

Beth can be contacted at

The Lifestyle Medicine Handbook: An Introduction to the Power of Healthy Habits can be purchased at

About the author, Ross

Behavioural leadership coach committed to bringing more soul into business and reducing a leader's stress in managing their people

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