Do People Who Exercise Make More Money?

When it comes to exercise, I’ve heard all the excuses. And a lot of them have to do with money.

Here’s a common one:

Joining a gym, hiring a trainer or buying a workout program are expensive. I don’t have that kind of money.


If I spend time at the gym, it will take time away from my job. I need to put in all the time I can to get ahead.

But a new study is calling these excuses into question. Published in the Journal of Labor Research, the study found that regular exercisers make more money than their non-exercising counterparts. And the difference isn’t small.

According to researchers, the wage increase for regular exercisers averages 6% – 10% – with frequent exercisers making even more. That translates to several hundred thousand dollars over the course of a lifetime. The study even concluded that non-exercisers often receive a pay boost when they begin exercising.

Clearly, a number of factors can be at play here. In-shape people are considered more attractive by society – and there is a well-documented link between attractiveness and increased wages. One study found that attractive people make, on average, make 3% – 4% more than less attractive people. But beyond attractiveness, exercise has a number of deeper benefits than can impact a person’s job performance. Exercise results in increased energy, focus and decreased stress. These benefits can translate to huge advantages in the workplace.

The researchers recognize that more research is needed on the subject. But what do you think? Why do exercisers make more money? And are these findings motivation enough to get you off the couch and moving?

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  1. I’m sick of studies pointing out a coincidence as an actual benefit of a situation. Of course people who exercise more make more money, they were already wealthier to begin with, that’s how they managed to go the gym and have time to exercise in the first place. Such biased studies only misinform people.
    Unless they state clearly how they got to that conclusion there’s not much one can assume besides the fact that counting facts on a random sample of people provides statistics for lame studies instead of studying people in the exact same conditions since the beginning and then checkin back after an extended period of time.

  2. There is definitely a correlation, but I think we’re forgetting to ask what came first- the chicken or the egg.

    I live in a not-so-great area of LA, but spend a lot of time in nicer areas (real estate is cheap where I live). It’s absolutely hilarious the difference in businesses that you see in the different areas. In more upscale areas, every other business is a yoga/ pilates/Tai Bo studio or a vegan/ organic restaurant. Near my home, you see those payday loan places on every corner.

    People with higher salaries aren’t where they are in life because of their workout habits. Their salaries have placed them in a socio-economic group that values its appearance and health.

  3. It’s important not to confuse correlation and causation… There may be a correlation between higher salaries and higher frequency of exercise, but this can have a separate cause altogether – like that high earners and regular exercisers are both naturally more motivated and hence the correlation.

  4. charley says:

    How about the drive and determination to stay fit correlates to the drive and determination to succeed in business? If you are a sloth you are likely to be so in more than one area.

  5. christopher says:

    these statistics are skewed.i started my exercise routine over 1.5 yrs ago on a limited income-ive a dissapating disibility and make considerably less money than 4 yrs ago.i do agree with the general premise-but my circumstances dont fall into the equation.i mostly agree that better looking people make more money-especially young and good looking-that usually equates wealth.

  6. In our place, lots of people gaining money from exercise. In any workshop, it needs some advisers or instructors to teach what are the right thing to do to have an effective exercise.

  7. They can make money out of it if they will also share their ideas and knowledge to others who need to have proper guidance in having exercises.

  8. I have a client that I personal train. A Big Time Lawyer, Business woman of the year for California. Even when she is on her biggest cases she is more consistent to workout. Why? She tells me that her opposition is fat and tired and she literally physically wears them out with this motion and that motion to deny etc and they end up settling sometimes just due to being to tired to continue.

  9. I am getting iscnearing worried about you current mental state with your long rambling rants which do not really class as questions. If you understood the history of mental illness thought the ages and the unbelievably painful mental states that many patients endured before the development of effective and safe pharmacological agents, you would not for a moment question their usefulness.Patients with mania used to literally run themselves to death from exhaustion and schizophrenics used to become virtually rigid and unable even to eat before useful drugs became available, to give just 2 examples.