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4 reasons getting in shape is good for your career

        Though most people are aware that diet and exercise contribute to good health, this can often be the last thing on your mind when the stakes are high at the office. The countless items on your to-do list can even make it seem irresponsible to devote your time or effort to anything else. And when you do finally get a moment to yourself, chances are the iPad and TV are much closer at hand than a treadmill or a bench press.

        In this battle for our time and effort, the data shows that health is statistically on the losing side. According to the CDC, almost 35 million adults in the U.S. today are obese. The medical costs associated with being obese amount to a staggering $1,429 per person, per year. In other words, being in shape could save you more than fourteen hundred dollars annually.

But being fit can have benefits to your career that far outweigh the hit your bank account takes for being out of shape. Here are 4 ways making fitness a priority can transform your professional life.

  1. You’ll make more

        According to a 2004 study, people of normal weight earned $8,666 (women) and $4,772 (men) more than their overweight colleagues. Another study found that employees who regularly exercise earned 9 percent more than those who don’t, or an average difference about $80 a week. Whether or not it’s fair, the undeniable reality is that physical fitness impacts how professional worth is judged.

        This isn’t to say that wages are primarily based on looks. Expertise and hard work are indisputably more important, and fitness isn’t directly relevant to job performance in most cases.

        However, obesity has been shown to lead to higher rates of absenteeism, lower productivity, and higher compensation claims for workers. These statistics may influence (whether consciously or not) employers in assessing the value of an employee, even if they don’t necessarily apply to your particular case.

        Ultimately, the data speaks for itself. Time in the gym can end up translating into bigger paychecks.

    2. You’ll be more productive

        Many people say they don’t exercise because they don’t “have the time.” In almost all cases, this is an excuse masquerading as a justification. As a matter of fact, investing some time at the gym instead of staying late at the office might actually increase your overall work productivity.

        For one thing, working more than 40 hours a week has diminishing returns and can even make you less productive. An article by The Economist that compared the average work hours of different OECD countries actually found a negative correlation between number of hours worked and productivity (countries that worked less produced more GDP per hour)! So if you’ve been telling yourself that you don’t have time to exercise because of work, you may want to rethink how much time you’re spending at the office.

        Although it is difficult to quantitatively measure the relationship between productivity and fitness (and there is doubtless a point of diminishing return, otherwise companies would be vying for bodybuilders and marathon runners), regular exercise is known to alleviate counter-productive feelings like anxiety, depression, anger, or stress. How much more fruitfully could you spend your time without these impediments?

  3. You’ll be better at networking

        Fitness is a major component of self-image, and your self-image is the biggest component of your ability to network. People remember, like, and are more willing to do favors for people who appear confident and secure.

        Networking is all about making new contacts and keeping them engaged, and both confidence and appearance are especially important when meeting new people.

        Not only are you more likely to make the effort to talk to someone new if you feel good about how you look, but that person is more likely to respond positively. This effect tends to build on itself, making you more likely to network and better at it when you do. The importance of strong networking skills is difficult to overstate, which only amplifies the benefits of being in good shape.

   4. You’ll last longer

        Being overweight contributes to heart disease, diabetes, and other leading causes of death in the United States.

        Even if you are willing to sacrifice longevity for the sake of professional success, consider the fact that the longer your career lasts, the more likely you are to achieve your career goals.

        Is it worth it to spend all your time in the office now, only to have your life cut short, potentially by decades? That’s not to mention all the extra sick days that result from preventable diseases.

        Clearly, getting in shape is a valuable career objective, independent of its other benefits.
If you already lead a healthy lifestyle, rest easy knowing that you’ve made a sound investment of time and effort, and keep up the good work! If you don’t, there’s no better time to start getting in shape than today!

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