Let’s Get Moving (Jan 11, 2015)

Let’s Get Moving

Promoting increased physical exercise.

           One place to consider increasing our daily physical exercise (PA) is in the work place.  A randomized controlled trial, over nine months, with minimal loss of participants due to follow-up, and with careful design of study groups, was performed in a work place setting by Gazmararian et al. (2013).  Of the 1,107 invited employees within an organization, there were 410 study participants (Gazmararian et al., 2013).  The control group included study-qualifying, non-participating employees invited to participate in the study (Gazmararian et al., 2013).  One group was provided a gym membership at the organization’s facilities located on the employee’s work campus (Gazmararian et al., 2013).  The remaining groups provided a gym membership were also provided education, or 30 minutes of paid time during work to participate in PA, or both education and 30 minutes paid time during work to participate in PA (Gazmararian et al., 2013). 

            Strong organizational leadership and study support provided for consistent paid time allocation for participation in PA, thereby illuminating work place policy as a barrier to PA (Gazmararian et al. (2013).  Lack of time available for PA, as reported by seven out of ten employees, therefore was an illuminated barrier for the Gazmararian et al., (2013) study.   Lack of education regarding PA benefits on employee health was illuminated as a barrier for this study, but was not studied in a separate group (Gazmararian et al., 2013).  Paid time for employees to participate in PA was also not studied as a group by Gazmararian et al. (2013). 

            The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend either two and a half hours of moderate PA, an hour and a quarter vigorous PA, or a combination of moderate and vigorous PA, all to include muscle-strengthening twice or more per week (2014).  Gazmararian et al. (2013) found a difference between the control-group compared to all of the other groups by the first follow-up at six weeks into the study, with continued consistent difference demonstrated for the nine-month duration of the study.  The groups having gym memberships with education, with allotted paid time, and education with allotted paid time, had 51% (3.6 days), 46% (3.5 days), and 28% (3.0 days) more days a week that fulfilled the CDC’s PA guidelines, respectively, as compared to prior to initiation of the study (Gazmararian et al., 2013).  Gazmararian et al. (2013) reported 2.4 days each week for the control group and 2.9 days a week for the gym membership group fulfilled the CDC’s PA guidelines, thus gym membership alone did not measurably increase PA.  Either education or paid time allotted at work, in addition to a provided gym membership, demonstrated measureable differences in PA, whereas education with paid time allotted at work in addition to a gym membership did not, nor did gym membership alone (Gazmararian et al., 2013). 

            Increasing PA while at work is one place to consider.  While completed research determines whether illuminating barriers such as lack of time or education, or organizational supportive work-place policies and provided gym facilities, promote consistent increases in employee PA, we should increase our PA.  Gazmararian et al. (2013) study results indicate illumination of more than two barriers may not change the PA results.  We should consider which of our own individual barriers are holding us back the most. 



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2014). Facts about physical activity. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/data/facts.html

Gazmararian, J.A., Elon, L., Newsome, K., Schild, L., & Jacobson, K.L. (2013). A randomized prospective trial of a worksite intervention program to increase physical activity. American Journal of Health Promotion, 28(1), 32-40. Retrieved from http://www.healthpromotionjournal.com


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