What’s the effect of becoming an assistant professor on your health?

…only 30.7 percent of the sample was currently meeting the minimum activity recommendations of 20-30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), which is far below the national Canadian average of 49-54 percent for young adults ages 25-44 .

What’s more, the results showed that total physical activity frequency dropped to below national guidelines (e.g., 20-30 minutes of MVPA most days per week) by nearly two sessions per week from pre- to post-transition.

That is, participants’ total physical activity frequency fell below national guidelines during the transition to academic employment, compared to when they were in undergraduate and doctorate education.

A study of Canadian grad students making the transition to faculty. (h/t Monkey Cage)

I actually gained 20-30 pounds after finishing grad school. It took my sabbatical year for me to lose it. The first year of teaching was my bane. New class preparation was all-consuming.

Running with a fellow assistant prof the other day, he actually told me his running fell off at busy times mainly because, halfway through his run, he would think about the opportunity cost of his time and go back to research (yes, he’s an economist).

I’m actually going to disagree. Running has actually boosted my productivity, especially at the most stressful times. After I got over my initial loathing of running (that took about four weeks), I found it physically invigorating in regular times, and mentally therapeutic in stressful ones. So I think of running as a complement not a substitute.

Now for the commitment device: I recently brought in all my expensive dress pants two inches at the waist and gave the old jeans to goodwill. We’ll see how that works. Hopefully you will not see me teaching in my wife’s maternity yoga pants come September.


2 thoughts on “What’s the effect of becoming an assistant professor on your health?

  1. Very interesting. i think I’ve read that physical in-activity and un-employment are linked, if physical activity frequencies are lower during the transition phase, could it be that lowered physical activity frequencies are due to more un-employment during the transition period, when the sample is finding their post-graduation jobs. Or maybe I am interpreting ‘transition’ incorrectly.