White-Collar Workers Do More Exercise When Unemployed: Study

White-Collar Workers Do More Exercise When Unemployed: Study

If you had to find a bright side to being laid off, it might be that you’d have more time, as you looked for a job, to do some of the things your career got in the way of—such as exercise. That’s a very white-collar perspective, it turns out.

A new paper finds that, indeed, white-collar workers do more recreational exercise, on balance, when they are unemployed than when they hold jobs. But for workers as a whole “total physical exertion” decreases during unemployment, mainly because workers in manufacturing, mining, and construction jobs—and other blue-collar lines of work—don’t make up for the loss of strenuous on-the-job activity:

Due to the concentration of low-educated workers in boom-and-bust industries, the drop in total physical activity during recessions is especially problematic for vulnerable populations and may play a role in exacerbating the [Social-economic-status]-health gradient during recessions.

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