Fit to Waist away: A workplace exercise program to improve health benefits of employees.

As we have been told for many years implementing exercise into your daily routine has many potential health benefits, however, despite knowing the benefits, most of the population do not meet the recommended guidelines. Sedentary jobs are common in employed adults with approximately half of all waking hours spent at their workplace, therefore, the implementation of exercise programs during this period is known to be an effective strategy to reduce sedentarism and improve overall health (Conn et al., 2009). Incorporating a workplace program can also promote group cohesion, build friendships and improve the overall social climate (Jakobsen et al., 2017; Berry, Mirabito & Baun, 2010).

Over a 12-week period, consisting of two 6-week blocks, Absolute Balance undertook a workplace exercise program at the Shire of Mundaring. The aim of the “Fit to waist away” program was to improve physical fitness while also increasing the social interaction of the participating employees. Prior to the group sessions, all participants completed an initial assessment which included baseline (heart rate, blood pressure, body mass, body fat percentage, circumference measurements etc) and functional assessments (push-ups, squats, step up test, flexibility). These assessments allowed the Absolute Balance consultants to address any physical discrepancies that presented themselves, while also allowing for goals to be set. Whether it be for body composition, functional improvements or both, the Absolute Balance team worked alongside the participants to provide a comprehensive approach to exercise. The assessments were then re-taken after each 6-week block and to track progression.

The group exercise sessions that were run by the Absolute Balance team, included a variety of exercise formats which included; boxing, circuit classes, bodyweight movement, and mobility. This allowed all participants to be introduced to a range of different training styles, which in turn provided for a uniquely physical and mentally stimulating environment. Over the 12 weeks, all participants had positive increases in their functional assessments, with both upper and lower limbs increasing in overall muscular strength and endurance. A large proportion of participants also had changes in body composition over both 6-week periods. Specifically, one participant lost 5 kgs off their total body mass, with a reduction in both waist and hip circumferences. This program conducted by Absolute Balance identified that by implementing workplace programs directly into the daily routine of employers leads to improvements in both physical and psychosocial factors. This is supported by several academic research articles that have all concluded that; through the implementation of structured workplace exercise programs, improvements in physical, mental, and social health of employees can be seen (Conn et al., 2009; Jakobsen et al., 2017; Berry et al., 2010).

On completion of the structured 12-week program, all employees involved responded positively and stated how ‘they had thoroughly enjoyed the workplace program’. This program has clearly identified the importance of implementing exercise into daily working routines, with both body composition and functional changes seen throughout all participants.

If you think that your workplace would benefit from this program please contact us on 9244 5580 and or email at us info@absolutebalance.com.au.

David McClung (B.Sc. Exercise Science and Rehabilitation)
Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) (ESSAM)

 

References:

Berry, L., Mirabito, A. M., & Baun, W. (2010). What’s the hard return on employee wellness programs?. Harvard Business Review, December, 2012-68.

Conn, V. S., Hafdahl, A. R., Cooper, P. S., Brown, L. M., & Lusk, S. L. (2009). Meta-analysis of workplace physical activity interventions. American Journal of Preventive Medicine37(4), 330-339.

Jakobsen, M. D., Sundstrup, E., Brandt, M., & Andersen, L. L. (2017). Psychosocial benefits of workplace physical exercise: cluster randomized controlled trial. BMC Public Health17(1), 798.