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, 5 (1), 1-16

Effect of a General Fitness Program on Musculoskeletal Symptoms, Clinical Status, Physiological Capacity, and Perceived Work Environment Among Home Care Service Personnel

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Effect of a General Fitness Program on Musculoskeletal Symptoms, Clinical Status, Physiological Capacity, and Perceived Work Environment Among Home Care Service Personnel

B Gerdle et al. J Occup Rehabil.

Abstract

The aim of the present controlled study was to evaluate the effect of a general fitness program, performed by an occupational health service, using pre-post assessment for a number of different outcome measures. A total of 160 employees working in the central home care service district of Umeå, Sweden were asked to participate in a program of a 1-year long exercise program. Of the 160 selected, 54 subjects declined to participate and nine subjects were rejected after a medical check up. The remaining 97 subjects participated in a schedule consisting of pre-post medical and physiotherapy examinations, questionnaires concerning sociodemography, musculoskeletal and general health complaints and work environment, physiological tests of cardiovascular fitness, and of strength and endurance of shoulder flexors and knee extensors, and registration of sick leave. The subjects were randomly assigned to an exercise (treatment) or control group. The exercise group trained twice a week for 1 year using a mixed program including exercises for coordination, strength/endurance, and fitness. The test schedule was repeated for both groups after 1 year. The exercise intervention was associated with positive changes in prevalence and intensity of musculoskeletal and psychosomatic complaints, better physiotherapy status (less muscle tightness, better neck mobility, and less tender points), increased shoulder strength and increased coordination in thigh muscles. However, the exercise group reported worse situations post-exercise concerning aspects of their physical and psychosocial work-environment (i.e., concerning ergonomy, influence, appreciation and communication with work manager), which might have been due to stress associated with the exercise situation.

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