For many freelancers, exercise is the last thing on their minds. I used to be the same way. Before I started adding exercise into my daily routine, I’d sit at my desk all day and hardly move. I’d just stare at the screen, slumping in my chair, clicking through blog post after blog post.

However, I went through a bad period of feeling unmotivated in my work and anxious, and my doctor suggested that I start working out regularly. I knew that working out was important, but it took the advice of my primary care doctor to really get me started.

These days, I do yoga almost every day. Sometimes it’s just five minutes and other times it’s 30 minutes. I also play with my kids, which is definitely exercise since my son weighs a solid 30 pounds and constantly wants me to throw him in the air.

I’ve noticed that on the days I skip exercising, I’m irritable and don’t sleep as well. It turns out my doctor was right; exercising isn’t just good for my body. It’s good for my business too. Here’s why:

It Helps You Avoid Illness

Keeping your body healthy helps you to avoid illness. In addition to exercising more, I’ve been taking more vitamins and probiotics. I drink more water, try to cut out more sugar, and in general just sleep better.

I’m convinced that all of this has helped me to avoid getting sick. Sure, I get a cold now and then but I don’t get sick like I used to. The stronger my body is, the better I can work, so it’s been great for my business since I haven’t had any sick days or downtime lately.

It Lets You Create New Ideas

I wish I would have known about the effect exercise has on my mind sooner. Yoga is one of the few times of day I can actually shut my mind off. Once I stop worrying about bills and to do lists, it opens my mind to new ideas.

I’ve come up with some of my best business ideas while exercising. I’ve thought of everything from book titles to complex ways to solve problems in my business. Just recently while exercising I remembered that I had excess airline miles tucked away to help my husband pay for a flight. I’d spend several days wondering how I was going to afford a $400 flight, and while my mind was clear, the answer just came to me, and I was able to buy his flight for under $100 using points plus cash.

So you see, exercising not only helps you to stay healthier, it also allows you much needed downtime. Freelancers and small business owners are notorious for not taking time off, but just a few minutes of exercise a day can give you the much needed headspace to work through some business problems you may have or just get you prepared to conquer the rest of your day.

Ultimately, I wish I would have made exercising a part of my daily routine years ago. I don’t know where I would be or where my business would be without it now!

Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for educated, aspirational moms who want to recapture their life passions, earn more, reach their goals, and take on a more active financial role in their families. Named the Best Contributor/Freelancer for Personal Finance in 2014, her writing and expertise have been featured in dozens of notable publications and in national media.

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