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Walks4Work: Assessing the role of the natural environment in a workplace physical activity intervention

Brown, DK and Barton, JL and Pretty, J and Gladwell, VF (2014) 'Walks4Work: Assessing the role of the natural environment in a workplace physical activity intervention.' Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, 40 (4). 390 - 399. ISSN 0355-3140

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Abstract

Objectives The primary aim of this study was to examine the impact of physical activity (PA) in the natural environment (eg, "green exercise") on resting autonomic function in the Walks4Work intervention. A secondary aim was to assess the feasibility of Walks4Work in terms of adherence, change in PA levels, and cardiovascular health parameters. Methods In an 8-week randomized control trial, 94 office workers in an international company were allocated to one of three groups: control, nature (NW), or built (BW) lunchtime walking route. Both walking groups were required to undertake two lunchtime walks each week. The NW route centered around trees, maintained grass, and public footpaths. In contrast, the BW consisted of pavement routes through housing estates and industrial areas. Data were collected at baseline and following the intervention. To investigate the impact of the intervention, mixed-design analysis of variance (ANOVA) were performed. Results A total of 73 participants completed the intervention (drop-out rate of 22%). No difference was observed in resting autonomic function between the groups. Self-reported mental health improved for the NW group only. PA levels increased at the intervention mid-point for all groups combined but adherence to the intervention was low with rates of 42% and 43% within the BW and NW groups, respectively. Conclusion Accompanying a guideline of two active lunchtimes per week with low facilitator input appears inadequate for increasing the number of active lunchtimes and modifying cardiovascular health parameters in an office population. However, this population fell within normal ranges for cardiovascular measures and future research should consider investigating at-risk populations, particularly hypertensive individuals.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: autonomic function; cardiovascular disease; green exercise; intervention; lunch break; mental well-being; natural environment; nature; physical activity; Walks4Work; workplace; workplace physical activity intervention
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Biological Sciences, School of
Faculty of Science and Health > Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2014 10:51
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2017 16:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/8982

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