Exercise Intervention Beneficial for Health Care Workers

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

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

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 10, 2023 (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 two-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).

The 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 two 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 percent.

“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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