movement workplace wellness

Global Study Shows Health Benefits of Movement, Physical Activity

The math seems to be straightforward — and significant for supporting the benefits of a well-run workplace wellness program.

Reports “Higher recreational and non-recreational activity is linked to a lower risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease (CVD), regardless of a country’s economic level, according to a new study published by The Lancet.” 

The study is titled The effect of physical activity on mortality and cardiovascular disease in 130 000 people from 17 high-income, middle-income, and low-income countries: the PURE study.

It states what many businesses who engage well-run workplace wellness programs already know: “Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide and a major economic global burden… 23% of the world’s population is estimated to be insufficiently active and WHO has recommended a decrease in insufficient physical activity of 10% (of the aforementioned 23%) by 2020.”

While the study was generally focused on whether physical activity benefits would persist even in low-income countries, the findings are extremely useful when considering how workplace wellness programs can help engage employees in healthy behaviors, not only improving their wellbeing but also helping reduce health costs for businesses more generally.

The key conclusions:

  • “Higher physical activity was associated with a lower risk for mortality and incidence of major CVD. This lower risk was present even at moderate physical activity compared with low physical activity, and was more marked at higher physical activity. The benefit of physical activity was independent of the type of physical activity (recreational or non-recreational), a range of socioeconomic and CVD risk factors, and was similar in various countries with differing income levels.”
  • ” Even meeting the physical activity guidelines such as walking for as little as 30 minutes on most days of the week had a substantial benefit, and higher physical activity (up to and beyond 17 times the recommended physical activity guidelines) were associated with even lower risks. As participating in physical activity (especially in daily life) is inexpensive, physical activity is a low-cost approach to reducing deaths and CVD that is applicable globally with large potential effect.”
  • “The results of our study provide robust evidence to support public health interventions to increase all forms of physical activity in countries of different socioeconomic circumstances.”