Exercise has been proven to be a great stress reducer. It can also improve employer-employee relations.

A study published in the Journal of Business and Psychology (doi: 10.1007/s10869-011-9255-0) posits that bosses who participate in regular exercise tend to be “less abusive” toward subordinates. A group of 98 employed individuals and their direct supervisors completed questionnaires in which the employees answered questions about their perceptions of how they were treated by supervisors and the supervisors answered questions on topics such as workplace stress and exercise levels.

Supervisors who achieved lower levels of physical activity tended to feel more stressed, directly corresponding with their employees reporting greater perceptions of abusive behaviors from them. The authors found that these perceptions were reduced vis-à-vis bosses who participated in moderate levels of physical exercise.

“While the current economic conditions and a host of other trying workplace factors mean that supervisors are likely to experience workplace stress, we found evidence that they do not necessarily have to transfer these frustrations to those they supervise,” the authors reported. “Our study supports a link between supervisor stress and employee perceptions of abusive supervision, but this is a link that can be loosened if supervisors engage in moderate levels of physical exercise.”