It can be difficult to keep work from spilling over into your life away from the office, and vice versa, but following a regular exercise routine can help.
New research headed by Russell Clayton at St. Leo University in Florida suggests that, counterintuitively, spending time exercising helps to balance work and home lives.
The researchers had 476 working adults fill out a survey that asked how often they exercised and a series of questions about their ability to balance work and home obligations.
“Individuals who exercised regularly were more confident they could handle the interaction of their work and home life and were less likely to be stressed at work,” said Clayton
One may expect exercising, which can take up a large portion of free time, would make balancing other aspects of your life more difficult, but Clayton suggests that the key may lie in the approach that people who spend time working out on a regular basis have to their obligations. Previous research has linked regular exercise with higher levels of self-efficacy. People who enjoy exercise also often enjoy taking on larger, more difficult tasks; they enjoy challenges. This, compounded with the now-fairly-common understanding that exercise reduces stress, may help exercisers finish large tasks on schedule and keep them from encroaching on their lives away from work.
“Our findings suggest that employers can help employees with work-life balance by encouraging them to exercise,” said Clayton.