Give Me 50: Exercise Helps Women Climb The Corporate Ladder

Working out your body also works out your brain and can help you at work.

Working out your body also works out your brain and can help you at work.

This is your brain on exercise: bigger, stronger and full of more grey matter. While most of us know—and perhaps envy– other women in the workplace who bike or hike to work, sneak out to the gym at lunch or head to a spin class after work instead of happy hour, we may not know they are not only building muscle mass, but brain power.

According to recent research, your cognitive prowess regardless of gender may be linked to your fitness. But for women especially, it provides an edge.

We all know that your ability to problem solve and perform intellectually will help you at work. So figure that simple exercise of a few times a week will reduce stress, minimize the effects of the birthday cupcake from the break room, energize you and grow your brain. And that will help you on your career path. That is a key component for all successful women at work.

According to the report from The Center for Creative Leadership, “Executives who exercise are significantly more effective leaders than those who don’t.” And who doesn’t want to be as effective as possible? If adding squats, planks, leg lifts and more to your daily routine can help you as a woman in leadership, go for it.

Research shows that leg strength correlates to brain strength, and that means quick thinking on the job. So the extra exercise you do before or after work may actually increase your opportunities and help you literally and figuratively climb the corporate ladder. In case you are wondering just what kinds of aerobic exercise you can launch at lunch or at your desk, the Office of Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has a litany of guidelines and tips to lose weight, maintain your active lifestyle and also avoid diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

It may be time to reignite the New Year’s resolutions, knowing that the byproducts of fitness are as much about your mental abilities as your abs. Chances are if you also read during y our 20 minutes on the treadmill, your brain may just get huuuge.

About the Author

Michele Weldon is editorial director of Take The Lead, an award-winning author, journalist, emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University and a senior leader with The OpEd Project. @micheleweldon