Workplace physical activity programmes: Study on what works best and lessons learned

There is growing evidence that physical activity at the workplace has a positive effect on physical activity behaviour in general.

A recent study, carried out at the initiative of the European Commission, gives insights into the workplace physical activity promotion activities that are most effective in changing overall employee physical activity behaviour across different workforce sectors and types of workplace.

Through literature review and case studies, the study considers the available research on the positive outcomes of workplace physical activity interventions and identifies lessons learned from the implementation of several national and regional level workplace physical activity promotion programmes targeting the corporate sector as well as from interventions at company level.

The study is part of the European Commission’s follow-up to the Tartu Call for a Healthy Lifestyle, an action plan for promoting healthy lifestyles launched in September 2007 by three European commissioners (Phil Hogan for agriculture and rural development), Tibor Navracsics (education, culture, youth and sport) and Vytenis Andrikiukaitis (health and food safety). It also contributes to implementing the Council Recommendation on promoting health-enhancing physical activity across sectors and informs the organisation of the next European Week of Sport.

The benefits of a physically active lifestyle for good health and to prevent diseare are well documented, yet sedentary lifestylesremain prevalent. The 2014 Special Eurobarometer on Sport and Physical Activity revealed that 13% of physical activities take place at work.