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The benefits of physical activity in the workplace: Part I

September 30, 2022 - By Michael Patsatzis

Temps de lecture 4 minutes

More than 80% of workers in Quebec have full-time jobs. They spend a large part of their day at work, which inevitably reduces the time they dedicate to physical activity[1].

Furthermore, the health of employees is greatly influenced by their work environment, which has become sedentary[2] in nature. In fact, in North America, 40% of jobs are classified as sedentary[3].

40% of jobs are classified as sedentary

The lack of availability, the high number of working hours and the sedentary nature of the jobs are important elements to consider when looking for solutions to improve the physical activity of employees. Consequently, the workplace is targeted as a privileged place to maintain or develop lifestyle habits favourable to regular physical activity[4].

Health benefits of physical activity for employees

Regular physical activity contributes to the well-being of employees through its preventive and therapeutic role. In addition to being a source of recreation, physical activity provides employees with many benefits related to physical health, fitness, psychological health, cognitive function, and social skills.

Physical health benefits

Employees who engage in regular physical activity not only improve their health, quality of life and longevity, but also have a greater chance of avoiding chronic diseases, such as the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, the development and preservation of bone health, the prevention of certain cancers, weight management and the reduced risk of premature death[5].

Impact on physical fitness

In terms of physical fitness, physical activity contributes to the improvement and maintenance of body composition, aerobic fitness, muscular capacity, and flexibility, enabling employees to perform the various tasks associated with their work with greater efficiency and energy[6].

Benefits to psychological health

The positive effects of physical activity on psychological health are also recognised in both prevention and treatment. It improves self-confidence, the feeling of personal effectiveness and the ability to overcome obstacles[7]. In addition, it has a positive influence on several factors that determine psychological health, particularly the reduction of symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, and improving mood.[8]

Impact on cognitive function and social skills

Several studies have shown that physical activity improves cognitive function, reduces brain ageing and even offers protection against certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s[9]. Moreover, group physical activity promotes better psychosocial health, is a vehicle for social adaptation, and contributes to the development of certain social and interpersonal skills[10].

The success of physical activity at work is a shared responsibility between the employee and the organization. To help you implement a physical activity program in the workplace, Nautilus Plus offers a personalized corporate coaching service.


For more information, please contact ententescorporatives@nautilusplus.com.


[1] Institut de la statistique du Québec (2019). État du marché du travail au Québec: bilan de l’année. Récupéré de l’Institut de la statistique du Québec

[2] Carr, Lucas J, Christoph Leonhard, Sharon Tucjer, Nathan Fethke, Roberto Benzo et Fred Gerr (2016). « Total Worker Health Intervention Increases Activity of Sedentary Workers », American Journal of Preventive Medicine, vol.50, no 1, p. 9-17.

[3] Church Timothy S, Diana M Thomas, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Peter T Katzmarzyk, Conrad P Earnest, Ruben Q Rodarte et al. (2011) « Trends Over 5 Decades in US Occupation-Related Physical Activity and Their Associations with Obesity », PloS One, vol.6, no 5, p. 1-7.

[4] Arena, Ross (2014). « Lifestyle Modification Interventions and Cardiovascular Health : Global Perspectives on Worksite Health and Wellness and Cardiac Rehabilitation », Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, vol.56, no 5, p. 473-475.

[5] Kino-Québec (2019). L’activité physique au travail : des bienfaits pour tous / Savoir et agir. Récupéré du ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur

[6] Idem

[7] Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement Supérieur (2017). Politique de l’activité physique, du sport et du loisir : Au Québec, on bouge! Récupéré du ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport

[8] De Moor, M H M, A L Beem, J H Stubbe, D I Boomsma et E J C De Geus (2006). « Regular Exercise, Anxiety, Depression and Personality: A Population-Based Study », Preventive Medicine, vol. 42, no 4, p. 273-279.

[9] Erickson, Kirk I, Michelle W Voss, Ruchika Shaurya Prakash, Chandramallika Basak, Amanda Szabo, Laura Chaddock et al. (2011). « Exercise Training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory », Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 108, no 7, p. 3017-3022.

[10] Kino-Québec (2011). L’activité physique, le sport et les jeunes / Savoir et agir. Récupéré du ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport

The benefits of physical activity in the workplace: Part I is a post from Nautilus Plus. The Nautilus Plus blog aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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