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Being active during leisure time can make you more engaged at work: study


Photo: monkeybusinessimages/iStockphoto

Oulu, Finland — “Even light physical activity may foster work engagement,” researchers in Finland are saying after studying on- and off-the-job data for more than 6,800 workers.

The researchers analyzed questionnaire-based and clinical data from a 46-year follow-up study to the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966. Study participants answered questions about the types, frequency and duration of leisure-time physical activity. Meanwhile, nearly 5,900 participants took part in clinical exams that involved wearing an accelerometer on the wrist for 14 days.

The participants who either self-reported or exhibited higher levels of leisure-time physical activity and sports participation scored higher on a measure of work engagement, including the subdimensions of dedication, vigor and absorption. In contrast, more sedentary time was linked to lower work engagement.


Encouraging employees to be physically active, the researchers note, is beneficial to workers and employers, “possibly by promoting general psychological well-being and recovery from work.” They say the benefits include improved employee health, increased job performance and decreased absenteeism.

The study was published online in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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