How to Run a Business — and Stay Healthy

Date: December 19, 2012

With endless meetings, emails and phone calls, it’s a big challenge for business owners to find the time to focus on their health. Yet keeping fit and eating well are not only beneficial to you, but to your business as well: A healthy lifestyle can alleviate stress, boost energy and reduce absences. Here, three owners share their tricks for staying healthy while running successful businesses.

Sara Sutton FellBusiness owner: Sara Sutton Fell
Founder and CEO of, Boulder, Colo.

In addition to managing a staff of 23 and working full-time from her home office, Fell is a wife and mother of two young children. With a constant need for energy, Fell sneaks in workouts by making them social activities—taking a long bike ride with her husband as a date night, for example. She also maintains a home vegetable garden, which provides her with convenient access to healthy food.

Best tip: Take a mid-day break to walk or jog around the block.
Fell goes for a half-hour neighborhood hike whenever she’s in a rut. The break not only gets her heart pumping but also helps her discover solutions to business problems. “I often find solutions to the problems I was working on at my desk during my hike,” she says.


Frank O'BrienBusiness owner: Frank O’Brien
Founder of Conversation, a marketing agency in New York City

After running his first marathon in 2010, O’Brien was hooked on the routine of a training schedule that forced him to break away from his desk. “As an independent business owner, [training] was one of the few times I could detach from everything,” he says. Now training for his second marathon, O’Brien loves that a schedule takes out the guesswork of meal and workout planning.

Best tip: Remind yourself that staying healthy is an important obligation to your business. For O’Brien, keeping fit has translated into a more confident self-image and higher energy levels, which have resulted in winning more clients.


Business owner: Mark Serao, co-founder of Grey Sky Films
Video marketing agency in Rockaway, NJ

Healthy entrepreneursBetween shooting on location and attending events, Serao works 60 to 70 hours a week. An unpredictable schedule often tempts him to make unhealthy choices out of desperation, but to avoid binging on heavy carbs like pizza and bagels, the vegetarian filmmaker plans for shooting days by packing a healthy sandwich, veggies and hummus. He also keeps apples on hand for snacks. “If you think you’re hungry, eat an apple and wait 20 minutes,” he says. “You’ll be in a position to make a healthier eating choice.”

Best tip: To avoid boring workouts, Serao surfs and plays hockey, which require focus on the activity while distracting him from how many calories he’s burning.

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