Should you cut down on working hours or promote exercising?

Health-related effects of worksite interventions involving physical exercise and reduced workhours


What the article is about: This study looked at how two different changes at the workplace, which are doing regular exercise and working fewer hours, affect the health of women who work in dentistry.

How they did it:

  1. They picked six different workplaces.

  2. These workplaces were divided into three groups: a. One group had to do 2.5 hours of exercise every week during their working hours. b. The second group worked 2.5 hours less every week but didn’t have a specific exercise time. c. The third group was the reference group, which means they didn't change anything.

  3. In total, 177 women took part in this study.

  4. They collected some health information and asked the women how they felt before they started these changes, and then again after 6 months and 12 months.

What they found:

  1. All the groups started doing more physical activity, but the group that was given exercise time did the most.
  2. They looked at certain health measurements (like blood sugar levels, waist size compared to hip size, and how fit the women felt for work) and found: a. The exercise group had a drop in blood sugar and fewer arm problems. b. The group that worked fewer hours had better cholesterol (the good kind) and a change in their waist-to-hip measurement.

Conclusion: Both the exercise and reduced working hours had some positive effects on the women's health. However, if you’re going to cut down work hours, it might be better for health if that extra free time is used for exercise.

In short: Making time for exercise at work or working fewer hours can both be good for women's health, but combining reduced work hours with exercise might be the best way to go.