The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


Workout for a Bigger Paycheck

Written by
Michael Harper, MEd
Posted in
Move more

Monday, Jul 02, 2012

Engaging in regular exercise provides a 6 to 10% wage increase according to a study by the Journal of Labor Research.1 Sign me up!! The study utilized information from a database of over 12,000 individuals who were in their prime working years of age 33 – 41. As a result of survey questions, it was found that “frequent exercisers [3 or more times per week] earn roughly $362 more per week on average compared to their non-exercising counterparts.” The study only looked at the relationship between wages and exercise and not on the cause. When combined with previous studies, however, there is a thought that the higher wages could be due to job satisfaction, reduced health care issues causing absenteeism, increased productivity or cognitive ability. For example, a 1991 study of fitness levels indicated that sedentary police officers were absent significantly more often than active officers.2 When looking at cognitive abilities, a study of California3 and Illinois4 students showed that those who were more physically fit performed at higher levels in their core subjects than those who were not fit.

Regardless of the cause, I hope that you add this to your list of reasons to exercise on those days when you are not quite sure if you feel like it. And if you need any further motivation, don’t forget to refer to a list of additional benefits found in More than Weight Loss where we discussed the amazing benefits that exist beyond weight loss. Even if you don’t feel like doing it, typically one or two minutes of activity wash those feelings away. So when you start to feel a little bit down at work or unmotivated, try a few bodyweight exercises right there in your office, cubical or hallway. A few ideas might include:

  • A quick trip up and down the stairs
  • A few push-ups against the wall or on the floor
  • Some bodyweight squats in and out of your chair
You can then refer to our blog Bodyweight Exercises: Exercise for Wherever You Are for a few ideas on how to progress beyond these!

And when people stop by asking what you are doing, mention that exercisers reportedly make more money and before you know it, they might be joining in too.

1Kosteas, V. (2012).The Effect of Exercise on Earnings: Evidence from the NLSY. Journal of Labor Research. 33(2):225-250.

2Steinhardt. M., Greenhow, L., Stewart, J. (1991) The Relationship of Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Fitness to Absenteeism and Medical Care Claims Among Law Enforcement Officers. American Journal of Health Promotion. 5(6):455-460.

3London, R.A., Castrechini, S. (2011). A Longitudinal Examination of the Link Between Youth Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement. Journal of School Health. 81(7):400-408.

4Castelli, D.M., Hillman, C.H., Buck, S.M., Erwin, H.E. (2007). Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement in Third and Fifth Grade Students. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. 29: 239-252.