By: Chad Brooks, BusinessNewsDaily Contributor
Published: 05/31/2013 06:54 AM EDT on BusinessNewsDaily
Owning a business does a body good, new research shows.
A study by Bank of America found that more than half of small business owners report their personal health has improved as a result of running a business. This is especially true of younger entrepreneurs, with 72 percent of millennials (those born in the 1980s or 1990s) who own a business saying their personal health is better since starting their company.
Small business owners cite a number of factors leading to their improved health: 35 percent are exercising more frequently, while 29 percent are eating healthier. In addition, roughly half of those surveyed are getting between seven and eight hours of sleep each night.
The research shows many small business owners are trying to impart their healthier ways to their employees as well. Nearly half of those surveyed provide flexible work or work-from-home options, and more than 30 percent offer additional amenities in the workplace, such as healthy snacks or massages.
Other steps business owners are taking to contribute to the health and happiness of their employees include providing discounted services or goods; holding team-building activities, such as sporting events and excursions; andoffering volunteering and community-service opportunities.
Despite their improved personal health, small business owners are far from stress free. Some of the concerns business owners said keep them up at night include trying to achieve a successful work-life balance, living in tough economic times, dealing with the potential for a natural disaster, managing cash flow and maintaining customer satisfaction.
When it comes to the health of their business, the majority of small business owners are optimistic about the future. More than half of those surveyed said they expect their revenue to increase this year, and 31 percent plan to hire more employees. Additionally, more than two-thirds of small business owners believe they have enough access to capital to effectively run their small business.
The study was based on surveys of more 1,300 small business owners throughout the United States.
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It Keeps You Out Of Poverty
This may sound glib at first, but it's really true. Having a regular income means that you can avoid many of <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus11.pdf#glance" target="_hplink">the health pitfalls of poverty and profound poverty</a>. These include, according to the CDC, access to health care, management of chronic conditions, a healthful, nutritious diet, regular exercise, a reduction in stress and overall good mental health. And, as we covered recently, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-redline-md-mph/sleep-apnea-poverty_b_1837805.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living" target="_hplink">sleep problems can disproportionately affect the poor</a>.
It Gives You Access To Better Care
Sure the Affordable Healthcare for America Act will help close the gap, but having employer-based insurance is a major indicator of healthfulness. Not only do these insurance plans make it easier to have regular check ups and continuous medication coverage, <a href="http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/publications/10working4you.html" target="_hplink">they often offer wellness incentives</a>, like discounted gym memberships, smoking cessation programs and weight loss counseling.
It Makes You Feel Socially Connected
Research shows that people who have good relationships with coworkers <a href="http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2011/08/11/getting-along-with-coworkers-may-add-years-to-your-life" target="_hplink">actually live longer</a>. They also report greater happiness and life satisfaction. Overall, belonging to a group provides a social safety net that is <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/03/the-longevity-project-decades-of-data-reveal-paths-to-long-life/72290/" target="_hplink">associated with longevity.</a>
It Can Help You Recover
For those who have been unemployed -- especially due to injury or illness -- evidence shows that <a href="http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/hwwb-is-work-good-for-you.pdf" target="_hplink">returning to work can speed recovery</a>.
It Helps Us Find Purpose In Old Age
Work is often tied up in our sense of purpose and one indication of that is the growing number of people who choose to keep working into old age. Dr. Robert Butler, founding director of the National Institute on Aging and CEO of the International Longevity Center <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4751367" target="_hplink">told NPR</a> that older adults may continue working because "they have something to get up for in the morning. It gives them a real goal, a sense of meaning."