An Exercise Program Improves Health-Related Quality of Life of Workers
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Low back problems are associated with decreased quality of life. Specific exercises can improve quality of life, resulting in better professional performance and functionality. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of following a 21-month exercise program on the quality of life of warehouse workers. The population included 557 male warehouse workers from a food distribution company in Oporto, Portugal. Upon application of the selection criteria, 249 workers were deemed eligible, which were randomized into two groups (125 in the intervention group and 124 in the control group). Then, subjects were asked to volunteer for the study, the sample being formed by 229 workers (112 in the intervention group and 117 in the control group). All subjects completed the SF-36 questionnaire prior to beginning the program and on the 11th and 21st months following it. The exercises were executed in the company facilities once a day for 8 min. Data were analyzed using SPSS® 17.0 for Windows®. After 11 months of following the exercise program, there was an increase in all scores for the experimental group, with statistically significant differences in the dimensions physical functioning (0.019), bodily pain (0.010), general health (0.004), and rolephysical (0.037). The results obtained at the end of the study (21 months) showed significant improvements in the dimensions physical functioning (p = 0.002), rolephysical (p = 0.007), bodily pain (p = 0.001), social functioning (p = 0.015), role-emotional (p = 0.011), and mental health (p = 0.001). In the control group all dimensions showed a decrease in mean scores. It can be concluded that the implementation of a low back specific exercise program has changed positively the quality of life of warehouse workers.