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Study links exercise and fitness

By Brandon Blackwell

September 13, 2012

Running on Euclid AvenuePeople who exercise regularly earn fatter incomes, according to a study by a Cleveland State economics professor.

Research conducted by Vasilios “Bill” Kosteas shows that people who exercise three or more times per week make up to 10 percent more than those who do not.

Kosteas said women who exercise frequently earn 9 to 10 percent more than those who do not. Men earn about 6 percent more than their less active counterparts.

The study shows that a person’s body fat level is not a factor. Even overweight people who exercise often see the jump in income.

“This helps to see more of the potential benefits of exercising,” Kosteas said. “You should exercise anyway, but it would be great if this gives people a nudge.”

He added that this is the first study linking exercise and income.

His results published in the “Journal of Labor Research” cites improved energy levels, job satisfaction and mental function—common benefits of exercise —as traits that can translate into higher earnings.

Kosteas stumbled upon his findings while researching another project.

In the midst of scouring a national survey of more than 12,000 people for possible links between playing sports and future career outcomes, Kosteas began to notice a relationship between a subject’s physical activity and his income potential.

“It was a happy accident,” Kosteas said. “If you’re not specifically looking for something, you might never realize it was there.”

The study doesn’t prove exercise causes higher earnings, but a quantifiable link was established, Kosteas said.

The professor plans to look deeper into his findings by attempting to replicate his results using different research methods.

His initial findings made national news and were featured in “Men’s Health” magazine.

“It’s exciting if you find something interesting and new,” Kosteas said. “It’s fun to know you are contributing to what we know.”

Follow Brandon Blackwell on Twitter @blackwelltweets