Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2015;41(2):140-152    pdf full text

https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.3475 | Published online: 30 Dec 2014, Issue date: 01 Mar 2015

Does aerobic exercise improve or impair cardiorespiratory fitness and health among cleaners? A cluster randomized controlled trial

by Korshøj M, Lidegaard M, Skotte JH, Krustrup P, Krause N, Søgaard K, Holtermann A

Objective It is unknown if aerobic exercise overloads or improves the cardiovascular system among workers with high occupational physical activity. This was investigated in a worksite randomized controlled trial (RCT) of aerobic exercise among cleaners.

Methods We randomized 116 cleaners between 18–65 years. The aerobic exercise group (N=57) performed worksite aerobic exercise (30 minutes twice a week) and the reference group (N=59) received lectures. Cardiorespiratory fitness, blood pressure (BP) and diurnal heart rate (HR) for measuring aerobic workload [% HR reserve (% HRR)] were collected at baseline and after four months. A repeated measure 2×2 multi-adjusted mixed-model design was applied to compare the between-group differences in an intention-to-treat analysis.

Results Between-group differences (P<0.01) were found: cardiorespiratory fitness 2.2 [standard error (SE) 0.8] ml O 2 × min -1 × kg -1 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.6–3.8], aerobic workload - 3.5 (SE 1.2) % HRR (95% CI - 5.9– -1.0), resting HR -3.8 (SE 1.2) bpm (95 % CI -6.1– - 1.4), sleeping HR -3.8 (SE 1.1) bpm (95% CI - 5.9– - 1.7), and systolic BP 3.6 (SE 1.3) mmHg (95% CI 1.1–6.0).

Conclusions Worksite aerobic exercise seems to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, aerobic workload, and resting and sleeping HR, but increase systolic BP among cleaners. Beneficial physiological cardiovascular effects are seen from aerobic exercise, but also a harmful effect is evident. Therefore, recommendations should take into consideration the potential cardiovascular overload from additional aerobic exercise on workers with high levels of occupational physical activity.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2012;38(5):467-475  2010;36(5):357-365  1993;19(2):73-84  2007;33(6):405-424  2015;41(2):124-139
The following articles refer to this text: 2015;41(2):124-139; 2019;45(1):90-97