Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Sedentary white-collar workers should consider walking meetings for better health

Sedentary white-collar workers should consider walking meetings for better health

Dr K K Aggarwal

Changing traditional seated meetings at work into a walking meeting increased the work-related physical activity levels of white-collar workers by 10 minutes, says a new study published in Preventing Chronic Disease, a journal of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Walking Meeting (WaM) Pilot Study, Miami, 2015 examined opportunities to increase physical activity in the workplace among sedentary white-collar workers. Workers, mean age 39.8 years, who conducted weekly meetings in groups of 2 or 3 individuals from January 2015 to August 2015 were recruited for the study. The researchers developed a 7-item core component walking meeting protocol that included a safe 25- to 30-minute walking path on the university campus.

·         Set a time and place to meet before your WaM.
·         Create an agenda for your WaM.
·         To make the walk more comfortable, bring items such as water, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Wear comfortable shoes.
·         Have the group leader assign roles to each walking meeting group member. (i.e., time checker, note taker, path leader).
·         Follow the prescribed route.
·         Walk for 30 minutes minimum.
·         After the walking meeting, sit and conclude to wrap up meeting; take care of paperwork or other tasks that could not be accomplished during WaM.

Data analysis showed that walking meetings, a simple modification of traditional seated meetings, were not only well accepted by the study population, they were also easy to implement and feasible to conduct during regular working hours. Among the 8 participating groups, 7 completed both walking meetings. All groups walked from 30 to 40 minutes. The study found that the sit-and-conclude session and creating an agenda were the least frequently completed components.

The various health benefits of walking are well recognized. And, that a sedentary lifestyle has negative health effects is also well known. Physical activity is recommended for all ages.

White collar workers or people who have desk jobs spend most of their working hours sitting in chairs. Interventions such as this that encourage walking and physical activity in the workplace are needed to counter the negative health effects of sedentary behavior.

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