The demanding and exhausting working hours, as well as the bad and unsuitable working conditions that prevail in several hospitals, affect employees' physical and mental health. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a daily 6-week supervised workplace exercise program on health indices, functional capacity, overall fitness, subjective vitality, and life satisfaction in health professionals.
A randomized controlled study was used. 50 health professionals (40–55 years), working in a hospital environment, were divided into two groups: exercise (EG) and control group (CG). EG performed a 6-week supervised concurrent chair-based exercise program (stretching, strength, balance exercises, aerobic dance; 5 days/week, 30–40 min/day, 2 workouts/day lasted 15–20 min) in the hospital. Health indices (body composition, blood pressure, respiratory function), functional capacity (flexibility, balance), physical fitness (strength, cardiorespiratory fitness), subjective vitality, and life satisfaction were measured before and after the completion of the program. Additionally, after the completion of the program, EG participants’ enjoyment was assessed.
EG significantly increased (p < 0.001) lean body mass and respiratory function (range of mean increase 3.5–4.5%, depending on the variable), functional capacity (range of mean increase 18–40%, depending on the variable), lower and upper libs maximal strength (range of mean increase 10–25%, depending on the variable), subjective vitality (41.3%) and life satisfaction (21.5%); while significantly decreased (p < 0.001) heart rate during submaximal test (− 14%), body fat and blood pressure (range of mean decrease − 3.5% to − 5.5%, depending on the variable). In CG, all the above variables did not change. Furthermore, a great percentage of employees (95%) reported high levels of enjoyment.
A workplace exercise program may be safely used for the promotion of employees' physical and mental health.