Does physical activity impact vitality, engagement, productivity and sick leave?

As businesses look for innovative ways to ensure their workforce remains energetic and engaged, a recent study has highlighted a potential solution.

The present study has highlighted the potential benefits of introducing worksite lifestyle interventions, specifically exercising. Could exercising be the key to a more dynamic and productive workplace? Let's dive into the findings.


What the article is about: The study looked at whether a program at the workplace that encourages better lifestyle behaviors, like exercising and eating healthy, could help older workers feel more lively and enthusiastic, stay engaged in their work, be more productive, and take fewer sick days.

How they did it:

  1. They had 730 workers join the study. Half of them (367 workers) got to be a part of a special 6-month program, while the other half (363 workers) didn't and acted as a comparison group.

  2. The special program included:

    • Two group sessions every week: one session of yoga and one workout session.
    • One weekly aerobic exercise session that they did on their own, without a trainer.
    • Three personal coaching meetings to help them set and achieve health goals.
    • They even got free fruit during the group sessions!
  3. They collected information by asking the workers questions about:

    • How lively and energetic they felt at work and in general.
    • How excited and involved they were in their work.
    • How productive they felt.
    • Whether they had taken any sick days in the past three months.
  4. They asked these questions at the start, then after 6 months, and again after 12 months.

What they found:

  1. After 6 months and then 12 months, they didn't see any big differences between the workers who did the program and those who didn't when looking at energy levels, excitement about work, productivity, or sick days.
  2. BUT, when they looked closer at the people who really followed the yoga part of the program, they found that after 12 months, these people felt more lively both at work and in general. For those who followed the workout part closely, this positive trend was also seen, but it was not statistically significant.

What it means: Having physical activity at the workplace might help workers feel more lively and excited about their work, but only if they really stick to it. So, if companies want to make workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic with programs like these, they should figure out what stops people from joining in and try to fix those issues.

In short: Offering physical activity at the workplace could make workers feel more lively and engaged, but it's essential that they really commit to it for the best results. Future studies should explore what keeps people from joining such programs.


NB. By integrating findings from a recent study on worksite lifestyle interventions with our own research on enhancing VO2max, we've calculated that rejuvenating biological age by 7 years through our 10-week program could result in a 5% increase in productivity and a reduction of 3.5 sick days.