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New study: fit people make 9% more money

Jun 8, 2012

Hey lazy bones, here’s another fact about fitness designed to make you feel bad: according to a new study in the Journal of Labor Research, workers who exercise make roughly 9% more than those who don’t.

If this sounds like a recycled fact, it is. Past studies about this exact topic have produced the same results. But in the past researchers have been met with the ol’ correlation/causation problem – are those who work out going to the gym because they’re harder workers, or are those who are working hard excelling at work because they’re going to the gym? What sets this study apart is that researchers used something called propensity score matching to eliminate some of that fuzz.

After matching subjects up on fitness related factors such as age, education level, and whether he or she played sports in high school, researchers compared the subjects with similar scores, only some of whom exercised. What they found was that even if someone has no history of healthy behavior, when they start working out regularly, they are rewarded at work.

The study’s author Vasilios Kosteas of Cleveland State University says the research isn’t conclusive and that more studies are needed. But things are looking down yet again for the average couch potato.

If you’re looking to feel better about it (without having to use an elliptical machine), here’s an idea: if the average American makes around $41,500 per year before taxes, 9% of that being $3,735, he has about enough to pay for a gym membership at Equinox and a few yoga classes, with about $1,700 left over to invest in retirement, which he’ll need because he’ll probably live longer. So don’t worry about it—it’s all a wash in the end.

Here’s what our friend Donna Summer had to say about it back in the day:

(image via Shutterstock)

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