Journal Review: Setting exercise goals pays off for employees
Setting exercise goals pays off for employees
Getting employees to be more physically active is often more challenging than it sounds, but impressive results are possible, according to a recent study of 1,442 workers at 16 work sites of a large home improvement retailer.1
Workers participating in the 12-week program set personal and team goals every week and received incentives for achievements, with activity levels tracked using pedometers. After six weeks, 51% of participants logged at least five 30-minute moderate exercise sessions or three 20-minute vigorous exercise sessions weekly, compared with only 25% of the control group.
The steady and sustained progress that participants had in increasing their activity to meet, and even exceed, their goals "was better than we anticipated," says Rod Dishman, PhD, the study's lead author and a professor of exercise science at the Department of Kinesiology at The University of Georgia in Athens.
During the last six weeks of the study, participating employees had over 300 weekly minutes of self-reported moderate-to-vigorous activity and 9,000 daily pedometer steps. "Considering that only about 30% of the participants were meeting Healthy People 2010 standards at the beginning, the increase to 50% who met them by the midpoint of the study was very positive," says Dishman.
Dishman credits the employees' progress, which was sustained through the end of the 12-week study, with the "social incentives" given to the participants. The employees were divided into teams with an average of nine participants, and each had a captain who was responsible for motivating the team and setting goals. Posters that compared the progress of each team were hung in break rooms. "Management endorsement and support is key to the success of any workplace intervention," Dishman says.
1. Dishman RK, DeJoy DM, Wilson MG, et al. Move to improve: a randomized workplace trial to increase physical activity. Am J Prev Med 2009; 36:133-141.
For more information on increasing physical activity of employees, contact:
Rod K. Dishman, PhD, Department of Kinesiology, The University of Georgia, Athens. Phone: (706) 542-9840. Fax: (706) 542-3148. E-mail: [email protected].Getting employees to be more physically active is often more challenging than it sounds, but impressive results are possible, according to a recent study of 1,442 workers at 16 work sites of a large home improvement retailer.
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