Meteorologic and Geographic Barriers to Physical Activity in a Workplace Wellness Program

J Phys Act Health. 2018 Feb 1;15(2):108-116. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2016-0731. Epub 2017 Nov 25.


Background: Inclement weather and home environment can act as barriers to physical activity. However, it is unclear if they reduce the activity of persons participating in activity-promoting programs.

Methods: Data from a 6-month workplace financial incentives program were used to establish the association between meteorologic (temperature, rain, snow, and wind) and geographic factors (urban/nonurban home location and distance between home and work) and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Multivariable models were built to estimate mean weekly minutes of MVPA adjusting for demographic factors, clinical factors, and impulsivity.

Results: The 292 participants had a mean age of 38 (SD = 11) years. Eighty-three percent were female and 62% were white. Twenty-nine percent lived within 3 miles of work, and 35% lived in urban areas. Participants who lived more than 3 miles from work averaged 75 [95% confidence interval (CI), 65-84] minutes of weekly MVPA compared with 105 (95% CI, 88-122) minutes for those who lived within 3 miles of work. Urban participants averaged 70 (95% CI, 57-83) minutes of MVPA compared with 91 (95% CI, 80-102) minutes for nonurban participants. Colder temperatures were associated with decreased MVPA, and impulsivity modified the effect.

Conclusions: Colder temperatures, greater distance from work, and an urban residence are associated with fewer minutes of MVPA.

Trial registration: NCT02850094.

Keywords: environment; exercise; pedometry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Demography / methods*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Workplace / psychology*

Associated data