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Want Better Work-Life Balance? Exercise

If you're looking for another reason to keep that New Year's resolution to get more exercise, look no further: recent research suggests that working out helps employees balance the demands of work and their family life.

If you’re looking for another reason to keep that New Year’s resolution to get more exercise, look no further: recent research suggests that working out helps employees balance the demands of work and their family life.

jogging 

(Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon/Flickr)

Russell Clayton, assistant professor of management at Saint Leo University’s Donald R. Tapia School of Business, headed the study, which will appear in Human Resources Management.

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“My colleagues and I surveyed a population of working adults to gather input regarding both their exercise habits and their experience of resolving work and home demands. Briefly, those respondents who reported regular exercise were less likely to experience conflict between their work and home roles,” writes Clayton in Harvard Business Review Blog Network.

The question, of course, is how doing something that takes time out of a busy professional’s day could possibly help them manage their remaining hours and get more out of work and play. Clayton and his colleagues found that exercise improved work-life balance for two major reasons:

1. Stress relief.

It’s the first thing most people mention when discussing the benefits of exercise to a working person’s life, and it deserves to be at the top of the list. If you’ve ever tried to meet a project deadline when you’re in a panic, you know why. Stress is counterproductive.

2. Improved self-efficacy.

“The term refers to the sense that one is capable of taking things on and getting them done — and although self-efficacy is a matter of self-perception, it has real impact on reality,” writes Clayton.

In other words, if you feel like a person who gets things done, you’ll become a person who gets things done. The confidence you gain by completing a difficult workout (or even, perhaps, managing to fit one in) makes you more self-assured outside the gym.

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What are your tricks for balancing work and life? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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