Step by Step: The Feasibility of a 16-Week Workplace Lunchtime Walking Intervention for Physically Inactive Employees

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

A 16-week lunchtime walking intervention was designed to increase physical activity in physically inactive University employees. The program was delivered and monitored twice over 7 months to examine feasibility across different seasons.

Methods:

Seventy-five participants (n = 69 females, n = 6 males; mean age = 47.68) were randomly allocated into a Winter (February start) or Spring group (May start). Participants were asked to complete 3 weekday lunchtime walks and 2 weekend walks. Weeks 1 to 10 were led by walk leaders (group phase) while the participants self-organized their walks during weeks 11 to 16 (independent phase). Yamax pedometers recorded daily step counts and walk group leaders recorded participant attendance in the group phase. Acceptability was assessed via a satisfaction survey and 2 focus groups with participants.

Results:

A participant pool representative by ethnicity, but not gender was recruited using a range of strategies. The program demonstrated good retention across both groups (73%). The intervention was acceptable to participants. More steps were accumulated in the group-led versus the independent phase.

Conclusion:

The intervention is feasible in this workplace setting across different seasonal periods. In the future, researchers should examine if the findings can be replicated in a definitive trial and generalize to other workplace settings.

Thøgersen-Ntoumani (C.Thogersen@curtin.edu.au) is with the School of Psychology & Speech Pathology, Health Psychology & Behavioral Medicine Research Group, Curtin University, Perth, Australia. Loughren and Duda are with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, England. Fox is with the Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, Bristol, England.