Physical Activity and Relaxation During and After Work are Independently Associated With the Need for Recovery

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Research is needed to better understand the associations between during-work and after-work-hours physical activity and relaxation and need for recovery (NFR), so a study of these variables in office workers at a financial service provider was undertaken.

Methods:

Self-reported baseline data of 412 employees (mean age = 41.3 y; 39.6% women) were used. Linear regression analyses were performed to test associations of physical activity, relaxation, detachment, and breaks at work with NFR.

Results:

A lower NFR was significantly positively associated with standing, stair climbing, active lunch break, relaxation at work, detachment at work, physical detachment at work, relaxation at home, and detachment at home. In the multiple model, a lower NFR was independently positively associated with frequency of stair climbing, minutes spent in leisure activities, detachment at work, physical detachment at work, and relaxation and detachment at home (P < .05). Significant effect modification indicated that the positive association between relaxation at home and NFR was stronger with high job demands.

Conclusion:

Although prospective evidence is necessary to confirm the causal relationships, our findings suggest that engaging in stair climbing, leisure activities, (physical) detachment at work, relaxation and detachment after work is associated with a lower NFR. For future work site health promotion initiatives, interventions might be targeted at improving physical activity and relaxation.

Coffeng (j.coffeng@vumc.nl), van Mechelen, and Boot are with the Dept of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center (VUmc), Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and also with Body@Work TNO-VUmc, Research Center Physical Activity, Work and Health, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Van Sluijs is with the MRC Epidemiology Unit and UK Clinical Research Collaboration Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), Cambridge, United Kingdom. Hendriksen is with Body@Work TNO-VUmc, Research Center Physical Activity, Work and Health, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and also with TNO (Expert Center Life Style), Leiden, The Netherlands.