I am a Physiotherapist and graduated in 1997. I have worked clinically in primary care and as a private practitioner, and for five years I worked with health and safety, rehabilitation, ergonomics and health promotion within private industry. During my doctoral studies, I investigated the effects of two workplace interventions aiming to reduce sedentary behavior and increase physical activity among office workers. Physical activity of the studies was measured using accelerometers. The studies show that physical activity in the office is influenced by many factors, such as the physical environment, work tasks, organizational, personal health and the culture at the workplace. Interventions aiming to reduce sitting among office workers should target both working hours and leisure time, and be tailored to fit the organization.
The thesis included two studies. The first study was an RCT, where half of the participants were had a treadmill workstation installed at their workplace for one year, while the other group kept working as usual by their height-adjustable desks. The treadmill group walked more ata compensatory effect, with reductions of their moderate to high physical activity during leisure time. The second study, white collar workers within an organization were followed through an office relocation, where one group moved to an activity-based office, with no permanent workplace, while the other group moved to cell offices with designated work stations. In both office groups, a physical activity promoting program was implemented to encourage more physical activity, both at work and at leisure. The groups that relocated to an activity-based office increased their walking at work, compared to the group that relocated to cell offices. Both groups increased their physical activity slightly during leisure time.
In the near future, I will be working on a project about health effects of working with high physical demands, eg. as a concrete worker, painter or cleaner. Research has shown that physical activity during leisure is positive for health, but high physical activity at work seems to lead to poorer health, which is paradoxical. We aim to increase the knowledge of how health promotion work can be designed in occupations with high physical demands.