Your Next Career Boost Might Be a Workout

By Angela Vega – February 1, 2016

There is no argument that exercise can improve your overall health, but did you know that exercise could be the career booster you need for your next project or job?
Exercise helps control weight and combats health conditions and disease, but various studies have linked physical activity to improved moods, energy levels, and even brainpower. Your time at the gym is not only benefiting your health but also your career.

Move Over Golf, There is a New Kind of Community: When you think of sports and networking, you may believe golf is the name of the game. Well, it may be time to rethink that assumption. In an article released by Running USA titled  “2014 State of the Sport,” it is stated over 18.7 million people finished in U.S. running events. In 1982, USA Triathlon started with 1,500 members and grew to 477,000 in 2014. Since 2000, CrossFit has expanded to over 13,000 affilates (gyms/boxes). These expanding communities bring people from all walks of life who have the power to enrich your life. You can network over a 60-mile bike ride or meet a new manager looking to hire on a trail run. What does this mean? Your next career move or mentor could come from a fitness community, and they will know you work hard to meet a goal. 

Exercise Makes you Smarter: In a 2013 study published in Cell Metabolism, it was found endurance exercise stimulated the expression of the gene FNDC5 and its hormone byproduct, irisin. Irisin, dubbed the “Exercise Hormone,” helps regulate body weight, increase cognition and slow the aging process. During exercise, rising levels of irisin in the bloodstream causes the hormone to cross the blood-brain barrier, which increases the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF). BDNF stimulates neurogenesis, the growth of new neurons, and strengthens the synapses in the brain, connections between neurons. What does this mean? Exercise, especially endurance exercise, causes a chain reaction to improve brain health and function, making way for new skills and information.

Movement Improves Your Mood: Everyone knows that feeling after finishing a good workout or has heard of a runner’s high. It is a mixture of exhaustion and accomplishment that boosts your energy and mood. During exercise, you create a stress response in which your body thinks you are about to fight or flee. 

Three things happen: 
1. Endorphins, the body’s pain medication, induce euphoria (runner’s high). 
2. Stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, are reduced. 
3. The protein BDNF is released, which acts as a reset switch after the stress dissipates. Your sweat session brings about a positive mood, a clear head and reduced stress that lasts most of the workday. Research at the University of Warwick found happiness made people 12 percent more productive on average. What does this mean? Get in a workout before your next presentation or job interview to promote a cool, calm and collected confidence any manager will notice. 

Get Paid To Workout: Time is money, which is why going to the gym can appear a time-consuming task. However, a study published in the Journal of Labor Research in 2012 shows employees who exercise regularly (3 hours a week) earn 9% more than those who do not exercise. Though there is no guarantee that hitting the weights will lead to a raise, you may gain other financial savings like reduced health care cost. What does this mean? The next time you are looking for motivation to go to the gym, think about your paycheck. 

Spending less than 4 percent of your day to get in a workout has a bigger payoff than you think. It can provide a new kind of community, make you smarter, improve your mood and even get you a pay raise.



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