Did you hear?... Study says active exercisers make better leaders, companies embrace corporate wellness movement

Recent research from the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) shows that regular exercise and effective leadership go hand-in-hand. Active professionals may just have a corporate advantage.
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Recent research from the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) shows that regular exercise and effective leadership go hand-in-hand. Active professionals may just have a corporate advantage.

"Executives who exercise are rated significantly higher on their leadership effectiveness than non-exercisers," said study author and former U.S. Olympic Committee researcher Sharon McDowell-Larsen, Ph.D., in CCL's release of the results.

Exercisers demonstrated stronger leadership attributes, including credibility and interpersonal savvy, CCL (www.ccl.org) found from its research. Additionally, exercisers ranked high in organization skills, productivity, optimism, dependability, flexibility, energy and ability to stay calm under pressure.

This study confirmed the positive health effects exercise provides, including improved blood pressure and cholesterol and glucose levels, regardless of whether participates were overweight or not. Similar studies confirm that people who exercise regularly sleep better compared with non-exercisers – a worthwhile benefit for busy executives and company managers.

Having active leaders is a boon to business, and some companies with physically active leadership have been on the forefront with employee health and fitness programs. Assisting employees to be active and healthy has been proved to keep business expenses down is catching on as more companies embrace the corporate wellness movement, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Business Times.

The article noted that more businesses are trying to reach employees early who are at risk of costly medical problems. A recent nationwide survey of 2,999 employers by New York City-based Mercer Human Resources Consulting found the use of health risk assessments grew to 18 percent in 2005, up from 14 percent in 2004. The use of behavior modification programs among employers increased to 16 percent from 9 percent, 2005 from 2004.

Ron Goetzel, founding director of the Cornell University Institute for Health and Productivity Studies, told the Times that depending on how programs are structured, business may expect a 3-to-1 return on medical costs or absenteeism for corporate wellness initiatives. The annual cost of a corporate wellness program ranges between $100 and $250 per employee. To read the full article, click here.

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