Three days a week, I squeeze in a workout before work. And on many of those days, I hesitate beforehand—staring at the ever-ticking clock and debating whether I should just dive into my massive workload and try to fit some fitness in later. But most of the time, knowing deep down it would never happen, I stick to my planned fitness regimen before firing up my computer. 

See also The World’s Best Exercise

This week I came across some research that makes me feel good about that decision. It was a Journal of Labor Research study indicating that people who exercise about three hours a week make roughly 9 percent more than counterparts who fit a similar profile but don’t exercise. And as I dug more, I found other studies that came to similar conclusions. 

None of the research says exactly why this is true, although some studies dropped a few hints. A British study suggested that midday exercise boosted employees’ efficiency by 15 percent, as well as enhancing their moods and mental clarity. They were also less likely to experience the dreaded afternoon energy dip that zaps many a potentially productive workday. Another study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine discovered that when employees’ work time was reduced by 2.5 hours so they could exercise more, their overall productivity increased.  

Armed with this new knowledge, I will no longer suffer angst over exercising before work. Instead, I’ll spend my workout time contemplating how I’ll spend that extra 9 percent I’m making because I work out. 

Wanna join me?  

Kellee Katagi is one of those strange souls who actually enjoys working out for the sake of working out. She’s spent most of her 20-plus-year writing and editing career covering fitness, nutrition and travel, as well as outdoor sports ranging from skiing to spelunking to street luge (yes, that’s a thing).