Exercise Intervention Beneficial for Health Care Workers

A 12-week app-based intervention reduced depressive symptoms, burnout, and absenteeism.

HealthDay News An exercise intervention using apps is associated with improvement in depressive symptoms and burnout among health care workers (HCWs), according to a study published online Aug. 9 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Vincent Gosselin Boucher, Ph.D., from the School of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues examined the extent to which a 12-week app-based exercise intervention can reduce depressive symptoms, burnout, and absenteeism in HCWs in a 2-group randomized clinical trial. A total of 288 participants were randomly assigned to exercise (142 participants) and asked to complete four 20-minute sessions per week using various apps or to wait-list control (146 participants).

Researchers found that by the end of the trial (week 12), effect sizes for depressive symptoms were in the small to medium range (−0.41). For 2 facets of burnout cynicism and emotional exhaustion — effect sizes were significant and consistent (week 12, −0.33 and −0.39, respectively); the same was seen for absenteeism (r = 0.15). Between weeks 2 and 12, adherence to the 80 minutes/week of exercise decreased from 54.9 to 23.2%.

“Our results suggest that at-home exercise can have meaningful effects on HCWs’ well-being and absenteeism when they are given free access to mobile-based exercise apps, provided they continue using these apps,” the authors write.

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