Does Physical Fitness Lead to Career Success?

Vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan made headlines after he claimed to have run a marathon in "under three [hours], high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something". Runner's World discovered his actual marathon time was 4:01:25. Now, most runners will tell you it is highly unlikely a marathoner would forget his or her PR, especially by that much. So why would Ryan guess low? Does our culture value fitness to the point of believing an athlete is more qualified for an office like the vice presidency? Or could it be that phsyical fitness makes one more successful overall?

A study done by the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research in Amsterdam showed preliminary findings that physical fitness can lead to improved academic success for school-aged children. The scientists posit that these improvements could be attributed to increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain and endorphins, which are linked to positive changes in mood. If children are healthy and happy, their classroom performance is elevated. 

While more studies are required to prove if physical fitness leads to classroom success, the initial results are positive. It makes us wonder if the same could be true in adults. Say you wake up early and go for a five mile run. Will the increased blood and oxygen flow to your brain allow you to be more productive in your workday? Will the endorphins put you in a fantastic mood, creating more positive interactions with your colleauges? And, if so, will these behavioral improvements help you get ahead?

Tell Us What You Think

Do you find exercise helps increase your productivity? Would you be more likely to vote for a candidate who claims to be in good physical shape?

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(Photo credit: Gregg Segal for Time)

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