Home life prevents exercise in workers

People are more likely to keep to their plans to exercise on non-work days than on work days. However, it is worry over one’s personal life rather than work-related worries that prevents people keeping to their plans. This is the finding of a study reported today, Thursday 5 September 2002, at the British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference, Sheffield Hallam University, by psychologists Nicola Payne, Fiona Jones, and Peter Harris of Sheffield Hallam University.

In the study 42 employees completed a questionnaire each evening for two weeks that measured their intention to exercise the following day. The frequency of actual exercise was measured. Job demands and work and non-work related anxiety and depression were also measured. As expected, the study authors found that on work days people were less likely than on non-work days to keep to their plans to exercise. But this finding could not be explained by such things as how demanding was the work or by worries about work.

Instead the researchers found that people were less likely to exercise on days when anxiety and depression related to personal issues was higher, people were less likely to exercise. The authors discuss their findings in the context of helping people stick to a healthy lifestyle

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