In 2012, a study conducted by researchers at Michigan State University reported that the fittest students among a case study of 312 middle school students achieved higher scores on standardized tests than their less fit counterparts. The study indicated that cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance were the components most strongly associated with academic achievement. Dr. James Pivarnik came to the conclusion that the study results are a good argument against cutting physical activity from children’s school days. It’s thanks to countless studies like this that physical education remains in our country’s elementary and secondary system.

The question is why do so many of us voluntarily remove the physical activity from our lives when we graduate from high school? If you’re a person who is looking to achieve academic success or career success or in essence, life success, you have no reason to avoid physical activity!

Studies have proven time and time again that your level of fitness has a direct correlation with your cognitive and intellectual development. You know well enough that everything you’ve ever succeeded at in life has been thanks to self-development. Throughout history, success has been achieved by individuals who strive to become better. In primitive times, the better, stronger and faster hunter survived. The slower, weaker hunters starved to death. Today, it isn’t necessarily the most physically fit person who is going to be the most successful but rather, it’s the person who focuses their self-development on their mind. When you focus your development on becoming an expert intellectually in your field of work or study, you achieve success.

Here’s where you can gain the edge against your competition. Reading books, listening to audiobooks, attending seminars and undertaking a mentorship are all ways of intellectual development. Your self-motivated, yet physically lazy coworkers might not realize that lifting some heavy ass weights can enhance your mental retention. That’s your edge.

Becoming the strongest person in the gym might not lead to becoming the wealthiest person in your workplace but becoming a stronger version of yourself can very well lead to that level of success.