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ACE Exclusive Study Examines On-The-Job Physical Activity of 10 Common Occupations

Posted: January 26, 2007 in ACE Press Releases

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2007) – The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s Authority on Fitness, recently released results of its exclusive study that examined on-the-job physical activity of 10 common occupations. Based on Shape Up America’s physical activity recommendations in their 10,000 steps program, ACE commissioned researchers at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse to measure the amount of workday physical activity one can expect from a variety of common occupations.

Led by John Porcari, Ph.D. and Reem Akhwan, M.A., the researchers recruited 98 volunteers from businesses in the La Crosse area. The volunteers represented 10 different occupations including secretaries, restaurant servers, construction workers, mail carriers, custodians, lawyers, police officers, nurses, teachers and factory workers.

“Many people have misconceptions about how much they move over the course of a normal day,” said Dr. Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., F.A.C.S.M., chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise. “We wanted to raise the awareness level of how much individuals actually move and provide them with feedback that might encourage them to move more.”

Each participant was assigned a basic pedometer and asked to wear it during work hours for three consecutive days. The subjects went about their work days as usual. At the end of the days, they completed a daily log recording to the number of steps taken, total distance covered, and a brief description of the duties they performed on that day.

Researchers found that secretaries, teachers, lawyers and police officers walked significantly fewer steps and less distance than other occupations. At the low end, secretaries were observed to walk only an average of 4,327 steps (or the equivalent of 1.7 total miles). On the other end of the spectrum, custodians and mail carriers accumulated significantly more daily steps and mileage, with mail carriers topping the list at 18,904 daily steps (or approximately 7.5 miles); nearly double Shape Up America’s minimum recommendation.

With a huge difference in the number of steps taken by all occupations, results show that workplace physical activity varies widely among most occupations.

“Americans out there who aren’t in very active jobs, like the typical office worker, need to get some kind of supplemental physical activity,’ said Bryant. “They need to be more mindful and thoughtful of how to add movement to their daily lives.”

Minor lifestyle adjustments can individuals help meet the 10,000 step goal including; taking the stairs rather than the elevator, going for a walk at lunch, walking the course rather using a golf cart and deliver documents or messages to colleague’s in person rather than by email or phone.

For a complete summary of the research findings see the July/August 2006 issue of ACE Fitness Matters or online at www.acefitness.org.

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Founded in 1985, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) is a nonprofit organization committed to America's health and wellbeing. Over the past 25 years, we have become an established resource for both fitness professionals and consumers, providing comprehensive, unbiased, scientific research impacting the fitness industry and validating ourselves as the country's trusted authority on fitness.

Today, ACE is the largest nonprofit fitness certification, education and training organization in the world with 53,000 certified professionals who hold more than 59,000 ACE certifications. With a long heritage in certification, education, training and public outreach, we are among the most respected fitness organizations in the industry and a resource consumers have come to trust for health and fitness education.