Journal of Physical Activity Research
ISSN (Print): 2574-4437 ISSN (Online): 2574-4437 Website: Editor-in-chief: Peter Hart
Open Access
Journal Browser
Journal of Physical Activity Research. 2017, 2(2), 85-94
DOI: 10.12691/jpar-2-2-4
Open AccessArticle

Effects of a 16-week Worksite Exercise Program on Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Fitness Variables

C. Fennell1, 2, , J.E. Barkley2, J.D. Kingsley2, H.D. Gerhart2, 3 and E.L. Glickman2

1Kinesiology, University of Montevallo, Montevallo, AL 35115, United States

2Exercise Physiology, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242, United States

3Kinesiology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 15705, United States

Pub. Date: October 31, 2017

Cite this paper:
C. Fennell, J.E. Barkley, J.D. Kingsley, H.D. Gerhart and E.L. Glickman. Effects of a 16-week Worksite Exercise Program on Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Fitness Variables. Journal of Physical Activity Research. 2017; 2(2):85-94. doi: 10.12691/jpar-2-2-4


The purpose of this investigation was to assess effectiveness of a 16-week worksite exercise intervention on subjective and objective measures of physical activity, sedentary behavior, and changes in fitness-related variables in employees at a major university. Employees enrolled in either a 16-week, 3d/week exercise Intervention (N= 47, n = 38 females), or a Control group (N = 15, n = 11 females). Groups wore a validated physical activity monitor which provided visual feedback regarding physical activity behavior. Participants completed surveys assessing subjective physical activity and sedentary behavior, and completed fitness testing at weeks 1, 8, and 16. Data were analyzed by group across the three time points using an ANOVA while Pearson’s Correlations assessed change scores pre to post. Both groups met recommended physical activity guidelines, significantly increased cardiorespiratory fitness (p = 0.01) and abdominal curl-up repetitions (p < 0.001) over the 16-weeks. The Intervention group achieved a significant reduction (p = 0.003) in sedentary behavior and a significant increase in push-up repetitions (p ≤ 0.02 for all time points). Changes in sedentary behavior were negatively associated with changes in cardiorespiratory fitness (r = - 0.3, p = 0.04). In conclusion, the worksite exercise program and regular fitness testing improved health behavior for all participants, but greater improvements were achieved in the exercise program group

worksite exercise intervention health-related variables physical activity

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR, Franklin BA, Lamonte MJ, Lee I-M, American College of Sports Medicine position stand. “Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise”, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43 (7). 1334-59. 2011.
[2]  Centers-for-Disease-Control-Prevention, “Adult participation in aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activities--United States, 2011”, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 62 (17). 326-30. 2013.
[3]  Physical-Activity-Guidelines-Committee, “Physical activity guidelines advisory committee report, 2008”, Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services. A1-H14. 2008.
[4]  Tucker JM, Welk GJ, Beyler NK, “Physical activity in US adults: compliance with the physical activity guidelines for Americans”, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 40 (4). 454-61. 2011.
[5]  Matthews CE, Chen KY, Freedson PS, Buchowski MS, Beech BM, Pate RR, “Amount of time spent in sedentary behaviors in the United States, 2003–2004”, American Journal of Epidemiology, 167 (7). 875-81. 2008.
[6]  Owen N, Healy GN, Matthews CE, Dunstan DW, “Too much sitting: the population-health science of sedentary behavior”, Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 38 (3). 105. 2008.
[7]  Wijndaele K, Healy GN, Dunstan DW, Barnett AG, Salmon J, Shaw JE, “Increased cardio-metabolic risk is associated with increased TV viewing time”, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 42 (8). 1511-8. 2010.
[8]  Warren TY, Barry V, Hooker SP, Sui X, Church TS, Blair SN, “Sedentary behaviors increase risk of cardiovascular disease mortality in men”, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 42 (5). 879-85. 2010.
[9]  Lee I-M, Shiroma EJ, Lobelo F, Puska P, Blair SN, Katzmarzyk PT, “Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: an analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy”, The Lancet, 380 (9838). 219-29. 2012.
[10]  Vogel T, Brechat PH, Leprêtre PM, Kaltenbach G, Berthel M, Lonsdorfer J, “Health benefits of physical activity in older patients: a review”, International Journal of Clinical Practice, 63 (2). 303-20. 2009.
[11]  Martinsen EW, “Physical activity in the prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression”, Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 62 (47). 25-9. 2008.
[12]  Pratt M, Norris J, Lobelo F, Roux L, Wang G, “The cost of physical inactivity: moving into the 21st century”, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48 (3) 171-3. 2014.
[13]  Oldridge NB, “Economic burden of physical inactivity: healthcare costs associated with cardiovascular disease”, European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation, 15 (2), 130-9. 2008.
[14]  Goetzel RZ, Henke RM, Tabrizi M, Pelletier KR, Loeppke R, Ballard DW, “Do workplace health promotion (wellness) programs work”? Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 56 (9). 927-34. 2014.
[15]  Linnan L, Bowling M, Childress J, Lindsay G, Blakey C, Pronk S, “Results of the 2004 national worksite health promotion survey” American Journal of Public Health, 98 (8). 1503-9. 2008.
[16]  Sorensen G, Barbeau E, “Steps to a healthier US workforce: integrating occupational health and safety and worksite health promotion: state of the science”, Washington, DC, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1-65. 2004.
[17]  Baicker K, Cutler D, Song Z, “Workplace wellness programs can generate savings”, Health Affairs, 29 (2). 304-11. 2008.
[18]  Haines DJ, Davis L, Rancour P, Robinson M, Neel-Wilson T, Wagner S, “A pilot intervention to promote walking and wellness and to improve the health of college faculty and staff”, Journal of American College Health, 55 (4). 219-25. 2007.
[19]  Bravata DM, Smith-Spangler C, Sundaram V, Gienger AL, Lin N, Lewis R, “Using pedometers to increase physical activity and improve health: a systematic review”, Journal of American Medical Association, 298 (19). 2296-304. 2007.
[20]  von Thiele Schwarz U, Lindfors P, Lundberg U, “Health-related effects of worksite interventions involving physical exercise and reduced workhours”, Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 34 (3). 179-88. 2008.
[21]  Freak-Poli RL, Wolfe R, Walls H, Backholer K, Peeters A, “Participant characteristics associated with greater reductions in waist circumference during a four-month, pedometer-based, workplace health program”, BMC Public Health, 11 (1). 824-42. 2011.
[22]  Gazmararian JA, Elon L, Newsome K, Schild L, Jacobson KL, “A randomized prospective trial of a worksite intervention program to increase physical activity”, American Journal of Health Promotion, 28 (1), 32-40. 2013.
[23]  Rebold MJ, Kobak MS, Peroutky K, Glickman EL, “The effects of a 12-week faculty and staff exercise program on health-related variables in a university setting. International Journal of Exercise Science, 8 (1). 49-56. 2015.
[24]  Anshel MH, Brinthaupt TM, Kang M, “The disconnected values model improves mental well-being and fitness in an employee wellness program”, Behavioral Medicine, 36 (4), 113-22. 2010.
[25]  French SA, Harnack LJ, Hannan PJ, Mitchell NR, Gerlach AF, Toomey TL, “Worksite environment intervention to prevent obesity among metropolitan transit workers”, Preventive Medicine, 50 (4). 180-5. 2010.
[26]  Leininger LJ, Harris D, Tracz S, Marshall JE, “Differences in physical activity participation between university employees with and without a worksite health promotion program”, California Journal of Health Promotion, 11 (1). 67-75. 2013.
[27]  Tveito TH, Eriksen HR, “ Integrated health programme: a workplace randomized controlled trial”, Journal of Advanced Nursing. 65 (1). 110-9. 2009.
[28]  Albury AR, Forsythe JD, Thorpe GM, “The effects of an exercise program on cardiovascular risk factors at a faith based university”, Cedarville University Digita, 14. 1-11. 2014.
[29]  Osilla KC, Van Busum K, Schnyer C, Larkin JW, Eibner C, Mattke S, “Systematic review of the impact of worksite wellness programs”, The American Journal of Managed Care, 18 (2). 68-81. 2012.
[30]  Hill-Mey PE, Kumpfer KL, Merrill RM, Reel J, Hyatt-Neville B, Richardson GE, “Worksite health promotion programs in college settings”, Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 4. 12-9. 2015.
[31]  Booth FW, Lees SJ, “Physically active subjects should be the control group”, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 38 (3). 405. 2006.
[32]  Barkley JE, Rebold M, Carnes A, Glickman EL, Kobak M, “The validity of a commercially-available, low-cost, wrist-mounted accelerometer during treadmill exercise” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 46 (5). 490. 2014.
[33]  Booth ML, Ainsworth BE, Pratt M, Ekelund U, Yngve A, Sallis JF, “International physical activity questionnaire: 12-country reliability and validity”, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 35 (8). 1381-95. 2003.
[34]  Pescatello LS, and American College of Sports Medicine, “ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription 9th Ed. 2014”, Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Health, 2014.
[35]  Zwiren LD, Freedson PS, Ward A, Wilke S, Rippe JM, “Estimation of VO2max: a comparative analysis of five exercise tests”, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 62 (1). 73-8. 1991.
[36]  Grant S, Corbett K, Amjad A, Wilson J, Aitchison T, “A comparison of methods of predicting maximum oxygen uptake”, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 29 (3), 147-52. 1995.
[37]  Spence J, Adamo K, Colley R, Tudor-Locke C, “A step-defined physical inactivity index for adults: How many steps/day are too few?”, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 15, S301. 2012.
[38]  Tudor-Locke C, “How many steps/day are too few?”, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 18:e108. 2014.
[39]  Tudor-Locke C, Bassett Jr DR, “How many steps/day are enough?”, Sports Medicine. 34 (1), 1-8. 2004.
[40]  Jurca R, Lamonte MJ, Barlow CE, Kampert JB, Church TS, Blair SN, “Association of muscular strength with incidence of metabolic syndrome in men”, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 37 (11). 1849-55. 2005.
[41]  Brill PA, Macera CA, Davis DR, Blair SN, Gordon N, “Muscular strength and physical function”, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32 (2), 412-6. 2000.
[42]  Hunter GR, McCarthy JP, Bamman MM, “Effects of resistance training on older adults”, Sports Medicine, 34 (5),329-48. 2004.
[43]  Van der Ploeg HP, Chey T, Korda RJ, Banks E, Bauman A, “Sitting time and all-cause mortality risk in 222,497 Australian adults”, Archives of Internal Medicine, 172 (6). 494-500. 2012.
[44]  Healy GN, Wijndaele K, Dunstan DW, Shaw JE, Salmon J, Zimmet PZ, “Objectively measured sedentary time, physical activity, and metabolic risk the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study (AusDiab)”, Diabetes Care, 31 (2). 369-71. 2008.
[45]  Healy GN, Dunstan DW, Salmon J, Shaw JE, Zimmet PZ, Owen N, “Television time and continuous metabolic risk in physically active adults”, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 40 (4). 639. 2008.
[46]  Healy GN, Dunstan DW, Salmon J, Cerin E, Shaw JE, Zimmet PZ, “Breaks in sedentary time beneficial associations with metabolic risk”, Diabetes Care, 31 (4). 661-6. 2008.
[47]  Waters L, Reeves M, Fjeldsoe B, Eakin E, “Control group improvements in physical activity intervention trials and possible explanatory factors: a systematic review”, Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 9 (6). 884-95. 2012.
[48]  Høj K, Skriver MV, Hansen A-LS, Christensen B, Maindal HT, Sandbæk A, “Effect of including fitness testing in preventive health checks on cardiorespiratory fitness and motivation: study protocol of a randomized controlled trial”, BMC Public Health, 14 (1). 1057. 2014.
[49]  Waters L, St George A, Chey T, Bauman A, “Weight change in control group participants in behavioural weight loss interventions: a systematic review and meta-regression study”, BMC Medical Research Methodology, 12 (1). 120. 2012.
[50]  Morrow Jr JR, Mood D, Disch J, Kang M, “Measurement and Evaluation in Human Performance”, 5E: Human Kinetics, 2015.
[51]  Zavanela PM, Crewther BT, Lodo L, Florindo AA, Miyabara EH, Aoki MS, “Health and fitness benefits of a resistance training intervention performed in the workplace”, The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 26 (3). 811-7. 2012.
[52]  Kettunen O, Vuorimaa T, Vasankari T, “12-mo intervention of physical exercise improved work ability, especially in subjects with low baseline work ability”, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 11 (4), 3859-69. 2014.
[53]  Patterson R, “Changing patient behavior: Improving outcomes in health and disease management”, Jossey-Bass Inc Pub, 2001.
[54]  Rooney B, Smalley K, Larson J, Havens S, “Is knowing enough? Increasing physical activity by wearing a pedometer”, WMJ-MADISON, 102 (4). 31-6. 2003.
[55]  Proper K, Van der Beek A, Hildebrandt V, Twisk J, Van Mechelen W, “Short term effect of feedback on fitness and health measurements on self reported appraisal of the stage of change”, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 37 (6). 529-34. 2003.
[56]  Butler CE, Clark BR, Burlis TL, Castillo JC, Racette SB, “Physical activity for campus employees: a university worksite wellness program”, Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 12 (4). 470-6. 2015.
[57]  Chan CB, Ryan DA, Tudor-Locke C, “Health benefits of a pedometer-based physical activity intervention in sedentary workers”, Preventive medicine. 39 (6). 1215-22. 2004.
[58]  Finkelstein EA, Haaland BA, Bilger M, Sahasranaman A, Sloan RA, Nang EEK, “Effectiveness of activity trackers with and without incentives to increase physical activity (TRIPPA): a randomised controlled trial”, The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 4 (12). 983-95. 2016.
[59]  Freak-Poli RL, Cumpston M, Peeters A, Clemes SA, “Workplace pedometer interventions for increasing physical activity”, The Cochrane Library, 2013.
[60]  Robroek SJ, Van Lenthe FJ, Van Empelen P, Burdorf A, “Determinants of participation in worksite health promotion programmes: a systematic review”, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 6 (1). 26. 2009.