Fighting fit – why going to the gym may help your job prospects

We’ve just had a whole lot of time off. Some could say we’ve had far too much time off. And they would be right. Many of you would have gone back to your mundane part-time jobs you had before University, just to fund even more heavy drinking nights out, or perhaps a holiday. What you all should be doing is going to the gym!

Photo: Oleg Klementiev

I was fed up last summer of treading water. I wanted to build up my skinny legs and create a new image for myself. So I joined LA Fitness when I arrived at university. Apart from the exasperatingly long walk to and from the gym, I relished my time there. From almost getting throttled by a 65kg bar, to having strange conversations with old blokes in the sauna, I went through the perils and triumphs associated with the gym. Never before was I so focused on how I look. But there was more to it.

I somehow started to actually talk to random strangers at a party. I seemed to pay far more attention in class, even when I thought I wasn’t. So I did a little digging and found out that working out regularly with resistance can make you smarter.

According to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, exercise causes molecules called FNDC5, and a by-product, irisin, to multiply in the brain. These molecules specifically activate the genes that are involved in cognition, memory, and learning.

Employers seem to view well-bodied job applicants more highly, and it’s not because they look good. Employers believe that people who take good care of their bodies take good care of most other aspects of their life, too.

A study conducted by scientists at Rhode Island College showed that people who take part in regular aerobic exercise are more creative thinkers. Some employers specifically look at the ‘Hobbies’ section of applicants’ CV’s, to check if they take part in any physical activity. You’re going to stand out if you say you take the time out of your day to keep your body in shape, and even more so if you say you are part of a sports team.

Interestingly, a study published in The New York Times showed that students who exercise daily tend to gain higher grades. The study was conducted on 250 students attending the Saginaw State University, in Michigan, and researchers saw that almost every student that exercised regularly got better grades than those who didn’t.

Now I’m not saying that working out is the be-all and end-all to achieving your goals. But if you want to achieve better grades at university, maybe joining a gym will give you that extra boost. There really are no downsides to visiting a gym 3-4 times a week, if not more.

So there you have it. Do you feel like you could have done better last year? Do you simply feel like you could be fitter going into the next academic year?

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