Stretching and joint mobilization exercises reduce call-center operators' musculoskeletal discomfort and fatigue

Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2010 Jul;65(7):657-62. doi: 10.1590/S1807-59322010000700003.


Aim: We sought to evaluate musculoskeletal discomfort and mental and physical fatigue in the call-center workers of an airline company before and after a supervised exercise program compared with rest breaks during the work shift.

Introduction: This was a longitudinal pilot study conducted in a flight-booking call-center for an airline in São Paulo, Brazil. Occupational health activities are recommended to decrease the negative effects of the call-center working conditions. In practice, exercise programs are commonly recommended for computer workers, but their effects have not been studied in call-center operators.

Methods: Sixty-four call-center operators participated in this study. Thirty-two subjects were placed into the experimental group and attended a 10-min daily exercise session for 2 months. Conversely, 32 participants were placed into the control group and took a 10-min daily rest break during the same period. Each subject was evaluated once a week by means of the Corlett-Bishop body map with a visual analog discomfort scale and the Chalder fatigue questionnaire.

Results: Musculoskeletal discomfort decreased in both groups, but the reduction was only statistically significant for the spine and buttocks (p=0.04) and the sum of the segments (p=0.01) in the experimental group. In addition, the experimental group showed significant differences in the level of mental fatigue, especially in questions related to memory Rienzo, #181ff and tiredness (p=0.001).

Conclusions: Our preliminary results demonstrate that appropriately designed and supervised exercise programs may be more efficient than rest breaks in decreasing discomfort and fatigue levels in call-center operators.

Keywords: Computer terminal; Computer users; Exercise therapy; Occupational disorders; Work rest.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brazil
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Fatigue / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Fatigue / prevention & control
  • Muscle Fatigue / physiology*
  • Muscle Stretching Exercises*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Health
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pilot Projects
  • Rest / physiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors