Today's News / Health

Exercising to reduce stress may not increase productivity

Stressed-out employees may work out instead of working

October 12, 2011
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

treadmillEmployees who exercise to manage high job stress may actually have reduced levels of work productivity, suggests a study in the October Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

Led by Jeffrey J. VanWormer, PhD, of Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Marshfield, Wis., the researchers analyzed the relationship between stress levels, physical activity, and productivity in a sample of 2,823 Minnesota workers. In general, higher stress levels were linked to greater productivity loss. Workers with higher body mass index were less productive, regardless of other factors.

After adjustment for body mass index, there was a significant interaction between physical activity and stress level. For highly stressed workers, a high level of physical activity was linked to significant productivity loss. In contrast, for workers with relatively low stress levels, physical activity had less effect on productivity.

For example, for overweight employees who exercised seven hours per week, estimated productivity loss was 11 percent for workers who were highly stressed, compared to two percent for those with lower stress levels.

Worksite wellness programs that improve employee health generally lead to increased productivity. The study provides new insights into how stress affects productivity, particularly in combination with exercise and other lifestyle factors.

The results suggest that, when stress levels are high, increased physical activity is linked to decreased productivity. The researchers write, "This may indicate that some individuals essentially cope with high levels of stress by exercising more and working less."

Stress management is "at least as economically relevant" to promoting worker health and productivity, compared to more traditional lifestyle factors, Dr. VanWormer and colleagues add. They call for more research to identify the best approaches to reducing stress in the workplace.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

ASSE's Safety 2013 Review

A photo gallery from the Las Vegas Convention Center, where ASSE’s annual professional development conference was held June 24 to 27. All photos courtesy of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

THE MAGAZINE

ISHN Magazine

ishn april 2014 issue cover

2014 April

In this month's issue of ISHN, check out features about safety in the oil and gas industry.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - January 2014

ISHN0114_FDO_cov.jpgFor Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THEJANUAYR 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.