Photo: Katie Harris (Flickr)
Dear A Moment of Science,
I know that being active is not only good for physical health but also for mental health. But what about work? Can staying fit actually help me be better at my job?
According to a study by researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel, being physically active can protect against job burnout, helping you perform better at work.
It’s related to a point that our listener makes that being physically active is good for mental health. Dozens of other studies have found that exercising is a good way to prevent and treat depression. And while depression and job burnout are not the same thing, they’re related.
Being depressed makes you more likely to experience burnout, which usually includes physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. And not surprisingly, feeling burned out at work can trigger depression.
The researchers studied more than 1600 participants over nine years, and found that those who were the most physically active were also the least likely to experience depression and burnout. The major finding was that activity can halt the vicious cycle that depressed and burned out people experience, where burnout turns into depression, which then causes greater burnout.
So, bottom line, although being physically active may not guarantee that you’ll always be happy at work, it can lower your risk for burning yourself out.