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By Donovan X. Ramsey
October 5, 2012
Working out regularly pays off, in more ways than one.
Working out regularly pays off, in more ways than one.
Photo: Spencer Higgins

Get fit and get a raise?

Exercising three or more times a week leads to 6% higher pay for men, on average, and 10% for women, Cleveland State researcher Vasilios Kosteas reported recently.

The hike is due to exercise-induced productivity boosts, he says, and is separate from the well-established link between obesity and lower earnings.

Fiscal fitness plans

Start at the office. A health club can cost more than $500 a year, but your health plan may give you a break. Customers in 23 Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans (see blue365deals.com for details) can buy memberships for only $300 a year.

Plus, one in five employers subsidize gym costs, says Aon Hewitt.

Join forces. Two-thirds of trainers lower their prices for groups, so team up with friends to request a per-person rate that's 20% to 30% less than for a one-on-one session, advises fitness industry consultant Bryan O'Rourke.

An extra payoff: Exercising with pals gives you accountability and support -- not just a deal.

Related: When not to call your doctor

Buy a gym. For less than $200, you can get a gym bag's worth of essential exercise gear: dumbbells, resistance bands, a jump rope, and a fitness ball. Then use Nike's free Training Club iPhone app to guide you through your workout.