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Physical Capability & Sedentary Behaviour in UK Office Workers

Southall-Edwards, Robert (2018) Physical Capability & Sedentary Behaviour in UK Office Workers. Masters thesis, University of Essex.


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Spending too much time in sedentary behaviour (SB), has been identified as a risk factor for chronic disease and mortality. Most of the research into SB has focused on cardiometabolic outcomes. Other components of optimal health and fitness have been considered less, which are important for quality of life and may indicate risk for future disease. In older populations time spent in SB and breaks in SB, have been associated with markers of improved physical capability (PC); research is needed to determine if similar associations exist in younger adults. The modern workplace provides an environment which exposes individuals to extremely high levels of sitting and there is a need for interventions to reduce this. Calisthenics exercises may provide a method to break up prolonged inactivity, requiring little space and no equipment and offering important benefits to health. This thesis investigates into SB and PC, in UK office workers, who are below retirement age. The first study (n=42) considers associations between SB and components of PC, measured using balance, grip strength and walk speed. The second study (n=19) trials a two-week calisthenics exercise intervention, within the workplace, to determine if this improves PC. In these extremely sedentary office workers, SB was not associated (p>0.05) with impairing grip strength or walk speed, however was impairing the balance of males (β = -0.98, p<0.05). The grip strength and walk speed of individuals were relatively reduced compared to norms and may highlight impaired PC due to the sedentary occupation. A calisthenics exercise intervention resulted in considerable reductions in workplace sitting (-35 -1) and provided improvements to balance (composite: +1.3%, p>0.05; anterior: +2.6%, p<0.05). The intervention is therefore an effective mode by which occupational sitting could be reduced, without impairing work performance and providing health benefits associated with breaking up SB. Future work should further investigate associations across more diverse populations and trial multi-component interventions, over longer durations.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sedentary behaviour, physical capability, office workers, calisthenics exercises, workplace intervention
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Robert Southall-Edwards
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2018 09:23
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2018 09:23

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