Physical activity and relaxation during and after work are independently associated with the need for recovery

J Phys Act Health. 2015 Jan;12(1):109-15. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2012-0452. Epub 2014 Feb 5.


Background: Research is needed to better understand the associations between during-work and after-work-hours physical activity and relaxation and need for recovery (NFR), so a study of these variables in office workers at a financial service provider was undertaken.

Methods: Self-reported baseline data of 412 employees (mean age = 41.3 y; 39.6% women) were used. Linear regression analyses were performed to test associations of physical activity, relaxation, detachment, and breaks at work with NFR.

Results: A lower NFR was significantly positively associated with standing, stair climbing, active lunch break, relaxation at work, detachment at work, physical detachment at work, relaxation at home, and detachment at home. In the multiple model, a lower NFR was independently positively associated with frequency of stair climbing, minutes spent in leisure activities, detachment at work, physical detachment at work, and relaxation and detachment at home (P < .05). Significant effect modification indicated that the positive association between relaxation at home and NFR was stronger with high job demands.

Conclusion: Although prospective evidence is necessary to confirm the causal relationships, our findings suggest that engaging in stair climbing, leisure activities, (physical) detachment at work, relaxation and detachment after work is associated with a lower NFR. For future work site health promotion initiatives, interventions might be targeted at improving physical activity and relaxation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rest / psychology*
  • Work / psychology*
  • Workplace