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Want to Get Rich? Get Fit

A new study finds that your long-term income could be closely tied to regular exercise.
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(Photo: A.KaZaK/Shutterstock)

(Photo: A.KaZaK/Shutterstock)

Memo to Michelle: If you really want to get Americans moving, tell them it’s a good way to make more money. A study by a pair of economists from the University of Jyväskylä, in Finland, concludes that being physically active has a positive impact on long-term income.

The researchers looked at the physical and financial fitness of more than 5,000 male twins, who were tracked from 1975 to 2004. They found the long-term incomes of the twins who regularly exercised were 14 to 17 percent higher than those of their more sedentary siblings. Their data suggest, surprisingly, that this difference isn’t explained by the more active twins' better health. Rather, the researchers write in the journal Social Science and Medicine, physical fitness seems to “make people more persistent in the face of work-related difficulties, and increase their desire to engage in competitive situations.”

So if you need inspiration to sign up for that 10K run, picture it leading to a $100K salary.

This post originally appeared in the January/February 2014 issueofPacific Standard as "Want to Get Rich? Get Fit!" For more, consider subscribing to our bimonthly print magazine.