Occupational and Leisure-Time Physical Activity Have Different Relationships With Health: A Cross-Sectional Survey Study of Working Nurses
Journal of Physical Activity and Health
School of Nursing and Midwifery / Centre for Research in Aged Care
Recent research has focused on the potential benefits of physical activity in occupational settings in addition to leisure time. However, occupational physical activity (OPA) differs substantially for occupations that require heavy and repetitive physical work, such as nursing. We explored associations between leisure time and OPA and health outcomes in working nurses and midwives.
Nurses who were enrolled in the Fit For the Future study (New South Wales, Australia) and who completed physical activity questionnaires (n = 4343) were classified according to high (HO) or low (LO) occupational and high (HL) or low (LL) leisure-time physical activity (LTPA): HO performed walking/heavy labor most/all of the time at work; HL met the guidelines of 150 minutes per week moderate to vigorous LTPA, creating 4 categories: HOLL, HOHL, LOHL, and LOLL.
HL predicted better self-rated health (unstandardized B = 0.51, 95% confidence interval, 0.44 to 0.57) and lower likelihood of ≥3 sick days in the past 12 months (OR: 0.71, 95% confidence interval, 0.61 to 0.83), whereas HO predicted higher likelihood of ≥3 sick days (OR: 1.17, 95% confidence interval, 1.01 to 1.35), adjusting for all variables.
OPA may not confer the same health benefits as LTPA for nurses. Health-promoting interventions should emphasize the importance of achieving adequate moderate to vigorous LTPA for all, including those undertaking substantial OPA.