Does an exercise intervention improving aerobic capacity among construction workers also improve musculoskeletal pain, work ability, productivity, perceived physical exertion, and sick leave?: a randomized controlled trial

J Occup Environ Med. 2012 Dec;54(12):1520-6. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318266484a.


Objective: To investigate whether an exercise intervention shown to increase aerobic capacity, would also lead to less musculoskeletal pain; improved work ability, productivity, and perceived physical exertion; and less sick leave.

Methods: Sixty-seven construction workers were randomized into an exercise group training 3 × 20 minutes per week and a control group. Questionnaires and text messages were completed before and after the 12-week intervention.

Results: No significant changes were found in musculoskeletal pain, work ability, productivity, perceived physical exertion, and sick leave with the intervention. Questionnaires and text messages provided similar results of pain and work ability.

Conclusions: Although the intervention improved aerobic capacity, it was not successful in improving musculoskeletal pain and other work-related factors. A detectable improvement presumably requires a more multifaceted intervention, larger sample size, or longer follow-up. Text messages may be a convenient data-collection method in future studies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Construction Industry*
  • Efficiency
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / therapy
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Occupational Diseases / therapy*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Physical Exertion
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Sick Leave / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Text Messaging
  • Treatment Outcome