There are all sorts of reasons to incorporate exercise into one’s personal regime, from weight loss to increased energy levels. Health and well-being aside, a new study suggests that regular exercise also has a financial incentive. Workers who exercise on a frequent basis were shown to earn 9% more than those who did not.
Vasilios Kosteas of Cleveland State University conducted the study which sought to expand upon previous, similarly themed research correlating exercise and earning potential. The data, published in June 2012′s Journal of Labor Research, wasn’t based upon merely asking participants if they worked out and what their incomes were, as previous research had loosely intertwined. Kosteas, using a statistical technique called propensity-score matching, rated each subject on whether or not they fit the profile of an exerciser, with markers such as age, education level and if they took part in sports while attending high school.
Participants linked using the above factors were compared, and although matching in these primary criteria, only some were current exercisers, which is exactly how Kosteas wanted to divy them up; the goal was to make the subjects equal but different in this one category, essentially. Regular exercising, for the purpose of the study, was counted as three hours a week. Of those who did exercise at least as much as the study deemed regularly, earnings were 9% higher.
The idea of being fit and having an overall-better quality of life is not earth-shattering. Many studies in the past have linked the concepts of many varying sub-topics on this overall theme, from obesity and pay to attractiveness and earnings, and even the amount of time that one exercises and increased salary. Kosteas’ study was unique in that it isolated regular exercisers from a so-called “community” of others with many other similarities. Exercise was the defining concept that seemed to lead to increased income.
Now Kosteas’ work didn’t indicate when workers were exercising or if it was done before or after business hours, but a 2008 study out of the United Kingdom’s University of Bristol found that employees who exercised either before work or during their lunchbreaks reported remarkable benefits in the areas of stress and time management. On exercising days 74% said they managed their workloads better and 79% said they had better mental and interpersonal performance, to detail just some of the results.
The concept of health and health care has been on the national dialogue a lot lately, especially given the hoopla surrounding the President’s Affordable Care Act, and 2010 data from the National Business Group on Health shows that employers are concerned with the overall fitness level of their workers in large numbers. Fifty-six percent of employers were found to offer health coaches to their employees, and 26% provided on-site health centers to encourage – and facilitate – exercising, staying fit, and keeping health care costs down.
On the flip side, increased weight has been shown to reduce earning potential, with one study linking obese women to an 18% lower salary. And recently, Citizens Medical Center in southeastern Texas has announced that in order to promote a healthy lifestyle to its patients, it will not hire anyone with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 35. That means that a person measuring 5’5” cannot weigh more than 210 pounds. While some are calling this discriminatory, the policy is legal in Texas.
Author: Stacia Argoudelis
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Tags: employees, HR, income, stress in the workplace, tips for employees, workplace