Bad day at the office? Leave your stress behind your desk by hitting the gym, suggests a new study.
The study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, claims that getting enough exercise throughout the day (and closing it with a good night’s sleep) can keep you from bringing home office frustrations and subsequently taking them out on your loved ones.
Along with administering surveys, researchers tracked the sleep patterns and daytime physical movements of 118 MBA students with full-time jobs. They found that employees who recorded an average of more than 10,900 steps each day were less likely to exhibit abusive behaviors at home than those who recorded fewer than 7,000.
"Research shows employees who are mistreated at work are likely to engage in similar behaviors at home," said co-author Shannon Taylor of the University of Central Florida's College of Business.
"If they've been belittled or insulted by a supervisor, they tend to vent their frustration on members of their household. Our study shows that happens because they're too tired to regulate their behavior."
The researchers concluded that sleep and exercise are intervention points that can be used to stop the cycle of harmful behaviors. Burning just 587 calories can make a significant impact, says the study, which can be accomplished by the average American man with an hour of swimming or a brisk 90-minute walk.
"The findings are particularly compelling given recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association to walk between 8,000 and 10,000 steps per day," Taylor said.
"I also think the study gives us a new perspective on the importance of getting an adequate amount of sleep and exercise. It's not just good for you, it's good for your spouse, too."