More people are losing their jobs this month, and while many go on to new jobs within days, others are finding themselves with time on their hands, wondering what to do with it. For anyone in this situation, I tend to agree with the suggestion in What Color Is Your Parachute? of making job-searching your full-time job if getting a new job is your overriding objective. At the same time, though, it may be time to get in shape. This doesn’t have to be a conflict; it takes only about 15 minutes a day to be in better shape than the average American. With 45 minutes of exercise a day, you can be in athletic shape, and if you build up gradually to 90 minutes a day — which still might just be a replacement for the time you had spent commuting — you can look stunning.
Spending an hour a day exercising is not just a way to distract yourself. Exercise can do all this for you:
- Boost your energy. That’s especially important in helping you keep plugging away at the often-discouraging job search process.
- Improve your health. The exercise itself helps keep your body humming, and if you lose extra weight, that reduces the risks of injuries and some diseases. All the more important if your health coverage has taken a turn for the worse with the loss of a job.
- Improve your chances of getting hired, and your salary if you do get hired. If you’re thinner and you move with more energy, it makes employers think you are trying harder and getting more done — and, studies show, they’re more likely to hire you and promote you because of that.
- Help you sleep. It’s no secret that unemployment can be worrisome, and that could keep you awake at night, but exercise helps produce the “good tired” feeling that helps you fall asleep quickly and sleep soundly.
- Save money. Compared to other things you might try to boost your energy and mood, exercise is cheap. Yes, you’ll have to replace your walking shoes every year or so, but that’s nothing compared to what you might pay for movies, video games, comfort food, or psychological counseling.