Those Who Exercise More, Make More Money

The link between salary and exercise has been known for a while now, but it’s always been a question of correlation versus causation: does exercising make you earn more, does earning more lead to more exercise, or does a third factor cause you to both earn and exercise more? All three avenues are plausible:

  • It is known that exercise stimulates the brain and makes you happier and healthier, so it could in turn make you more productive and easier to get along with at work.
  • Exercise requires a certain amount of leisure time: if you have two kids and no nanny, or two jobs, or both, you’re probably not likely to exercise that often. Whereas if you have the time and money to see a trainer three times a week, you’re probably going to exercise. Also, rich people tend to not be fat, so it could be that simply earning more leads to more exercise.
  • Exercise also requires a certain amount of traits like discipline and perseverance — traits that would also make you more valuable at work. So it could be that those traits cause both more exercise and higher earnings.

One new study attempted to figure out which of the three is the more likely scenario and, surprisingly, it looks like it’s the first.  It used a statistical method to isolate exercise itself as a cause of higher earnings, and the results show that even people who don’t normally exercise start making more money once they begin doing so. Besides the fact that all studies like this should be taken with a grain of salt to begin with, the researcher himself admits more studies need to be done before anything is conclusive. But, given that exercise is already known to help with all kinds of things — being happier, healthier, living longer, warding off Alzheimer’s, migraines and the feebleness of old age — the fact that it might also make you richer is just another reason to get moving.

Photo by becaro

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From The Journal of Labor Research, via Smart Money and Lifehacker

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