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Move More @ Work study seeking participants

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

move-at-work-image
A new Otago study led by Elaine Hargreaves (left) and Meredith Peddie will encourage staff to break sedentary habits at work by providing tools, support and encouragement to get moving during the day.

Ever reach the end of a working day and wish you had moved your body just a bit more than you managed to achieve?

Well here’s the perfect opportunity to break those sedentary habits, get a little bit of activity during work time, and benefit both yourself and some Otago research in the process.

"We hope that this study will provide the tools, support and encouragement for staff to take a little bit of time to do some movement during work time so that by the end of day they will feel a little bit better physically and mentally."

As part of the Move More @ Work study, researchers from the School of Physical Education, Sports and Exercise Science and Department of Human Nutrition have teamed up to encourage and support staff to take the opportunity to move more during the work day.

The feasibility study, which has the University’s full support, is currently seeking participants who are keen to do a little activity such as a walk up and down the corridor or stairs, a few strength-based exercises or even some active stretching, for just one to two minutes every 30 minutes (or as often as you can manage depending on what you are doing at work).

Previous studies have shown that regularly interrupting periods of sitting with short bouts of physical activity can decrease the concentrations of fat and sugar in your bloodstream and reduce blood pressure.

As these studies have been undertaken in laboratories however, Move More @ Work is the first to research to see if similar effects are observed in a workplace setting.

Lead researchers Associate Professor Elaine Hargreaves and Dr Meredith Peddie, in collaboration with Associate Professor Sally Shaw and Dr Jill Haszard, say the study has been years in the making and they are excited to be part of a multidisciplinary team working on taking research out of a laboratory.

“Changing physical activity behaviour is difficult for everyone, even when we have the best of intentions,” Associate Professor Hargreaves says.

"I hope lots of people put up their hands. Staff wellbeing is an important factor in a successful workplace and both physical and mental health are key to that."

“We hope that this study will provide the tools, support and encouragement for staff to take a little bit of time to do some movement during work time so that by the end of day they will feel a little bit better physically and mentally.”

Director of Shared Services David Tapp has already volunteered to take part and is encouraging all staff who want to take part to do so, with the full support of University leaders and managers.

“I hope lots of people put up their hands. Staff wellbeing is an important factor in a successful workplace and both physical and mental health are key to that.

“Staff may feel this study may take some time out of their day, or take away some of their productivity, or socially appropriateness/acceptance, so I want to reassure my staff that anyone who wants to be involved in study has the full support of University management.”

The study will assess activity behaviour changes, health and productivity measures across an initial 12-week period with a further 12-week follow-up.

Keen to take part?

If you are keen to find out more information about the study, please email the research team at movemoreatwork@otago.ac.nz

Story by Guy Frederick (Communications Adviser, Division of Sciences).