Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH

Change search
ExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
BETA

Project

Project type/Form of grant
Project grant
Title [sv]
Fysiskt aktivitetsmönster och hälsosamma hjärnfunktioner bland kontorsarbetare
Title [en]
Physical activity and healthy brain functions in office workers
Abstract [sv]
Hur kan fysisk aktivitet på arbetet minska mental ohälsa?

Allt fler lider av stressrelaterad mental ohälsa till följd av en pressad livssituation och arbetsmiljö. Forskning visar att ett fysisk aktivt liv främjar hjärnhälsan. Kunskapsluckorna är dock fortfarande stora.

– Vi vet inte vilket aktivitetsmönster som bäst gynnar vår tankeförmåga och vårt välbefinnande, men detta omfattande forskningsprojekt ska besvara dessa frågor. Målet är att både arbetsgivare och anställda ska förstå hur fysisk aktivitet kan användas som ett verktyg för att gynna hälsosamma hjärnfunktioner, säger docent Maria Ekblom vid GIH.

Tidigare forskning har visat att fysiskt aktiva individer mår bättre och har bättre tankeförmåga än mindre aktiva, men det är oklart vilka komponenter av vårt fysiska rörelsemönster som är viktiga. I detta fyraåriga projekt ska nya objektiva mätmetoder användas, som gör det möjligt att få en mer detaljerad bild av aktivitetsmönstret. Begreppet ”fysiskt aktivitetsmönster” omfattar hur ofta och hur länge en individ sitter, ägnar sig åt lågintensiva aktiviteter eller mer intensiva aktiviteter som träning under en dag. Att noga studera detta mönster är en av flera unika aspekter av denna serie studier.

– Detta är en möjlighet för GIH att genom sin forskning bidra till att minska stressrelaterad ohälsa på våra arbetsplatser och i människors liv, säger rektor Karin Larsén. Forskningsprojektet omfattar cirka 38 miljoner kronor och samfinansieras av Kunskap- och kompetensstiftelsen, sju svenska bolag och arbetsgivare samt GIH. Intrum Justitia Sverige AB, ICA Sverige AB, Itrim Sverige AB, SATS ELIXIA och Monark Exercise AB är några av de medverkande företagen.
Abstract [en]
How can physical activity at work improve mental health?

An increasing fraction of the population is suffering from stress-related mental health problems as a result of stressors in their private lives and work environments. Research indicates that a physically-active lifestyle promotes brain health. However, there are still large knowledge gaps.

– We don’t know which activity patterns are best for enhancing our ability to think and our mental wellbeing. This comprehensive research project will answer these questions. The goal is to provide both employers and employees with an understanding of how physical activity can be used as a tool for promoting healthy brain function, says Associate Professor Maria Ekblom at The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH.

Previous research has shown that physically-active individuals feel better and have a better ability to think than individuals who are less active. But it is uncertain which components of our physical activity patterns that are important. New objective measurement methods will be used in this four-year project, which will make it possible to obtain a more detailed picture of physical activity patterns and their impacts. The term “physical activity patterns” includes how often and how long an individual sits, and engages in low-intensity activities or more intensive activities (like training), during a day. Studying these patterns in detail is one of several unique aspects of this series of studies.

– This is an opportunity for GIH to contribute through its research to reducing stress-related health problems in the workplace and in people’s lives, says President Karin Larsén.

The budget for the research project is approximately 38 million SEK, and will be co-financed by The Knowledge Foundation, seven Swedish companies and employers, and GIH. Intrum Justitia Sweden, ICA Sweden, Itrim Sweden, SATS ELIXIA and Monark Exercise are some of the participating companies.
Publications (10 of 32) Show all publications
Larisch, L.-M., Blom, V., Hagströmer, M., Ekblom, M., Ekblom, Ö., Nilsson, J. & Kallings, L. (2024). Improving movement behavior in office workers: effects of two multi-level cluster-RCT interventions on mental health. BMC Public Health, 24(1), Article ID 127.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Improving movement behavior in office workers: effects of two multi-level cluster-RCT interventions on mental health
Show others...
2024 (English)In: BMC Public Health, E-ISSN 1471-2458, Vol. 24, no 1, article id 127Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: We have previously reported on the design and efficacy of two cluster-randomized multi-level workplace interventions, attempting to decrease sedentary behavior (SED) or increase moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) among office workers to improve mental health outcomes. The aim of this study was to investigate intervention effects on mental health outcomes, i.e., mental wellbeing, depression or anxiety symptoms, and stress immediately after the 6-month intervention period.

Methods: Teams of 263 office workers were cluster-randomized to one of two interventions or a waitlist control group. The PA intervention (iPA) focused on increasing MVPA and the SED intervention (iSED) on reducing SED. Both multi-level interventions targeted individual office workers and their social, physical, and organizational work environment, incorporating counseling based on cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing. Mental health outcomes were assessed using validated questionnaires before and immediately after the intervention. Intervention effects were analyzed using linear mixed effects models.

Results: Participants were mostly female and highly educated, with a mean age of 42 years and had favorable levels of mental health at baseline. Mental wellbeing improved for the iSED group (β = 8, 95% CI 1 to 15, p = 0.030) but not for the iPA group (β = 6, 95% CI -1 to 12, p = 0.072) compared to the control group. No effects were found for depression or anxiety symptoms or stress.

Conclusions: The multi-level interventions improved mental wellbeing among this population of office workers, reaching statistical significance in the iSED group. The size of the effect can be regarded meaningful, considering favorable mental health and high PA level at baseline. Thus, workplace interventions that provide support on multiple levels appear to have potential for improving mental wellbeing, but not reducing ill-health variables, among healthy office workers. More research is needed to understand the mechanisms through which such improvements can be achieved and to identify the most effective intervention components.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2024
Keywords
Behavior change, Mental health, Mental wellbeing, Office workers, Physical activity, Sedentary behavior, Workplace health promotion
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Research subject
Medicine/Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-8049 (URN)10.1186/s12889-024-17647-2 (DOI)001139143500010 ()38195449 (PubMedID)
Funder
Knowledge Foundation, 20160040
Note

At the time of Lisa-Marie Larisch's dissertation, this manuscript was submitted.

Available from: 2024-01-11 Created: 2024-01-11 Last updated: 2024-02-23
Larisch, L.-M., Kallings, L., Thedin Jakobsson, B. & Blom, V. (2023). “It depends on the boss”: A qualitative study of multi-level interventions aiming at office workers’ movement behavior and mental health. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 18(1), Article ID 2258564.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>“It depends on the boss”: A qualitative study of multi-level interventions aiming at office workers’ movement behavior and mental health
2023 (English)In: International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, ISSN 1748-2623, E-ISSN 1748-2631, Vol. 18, no 1, article id 2258564Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: This embedded qualitative study explored the acceptability, feasibility, and fidelity of two multi-level RCT interventions among office workers, aiming at improving movement behaviour to enhance mental health and cognition. The interventions addressed the organizational, environmental, and individual level.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions were conducted with 38 stakeholders after completion of the interventions. Data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis.

Results: The interventions were well appreciated, and office workers attributed improvements in movement behaviour and wellbeing to the interventions. Especially the cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) based counselling and free gym access were appreciated, feasible and delivered as planned. Participants described existing workplace norms as barriers to more activity, particularly for reducing sitting. Support from managers and team support were considered crucial components. However, delivering these components was difficult.

Conclusions: The findings support the design of the multi-level interventions for changing movement behaviour. Results highlight the potential of CBT for this target group and the importance of manager and team support. Desired effects of similar multi-level interventions, including CBT, might be achieved in future studies that carefully address the issues with feasibility and acceptability and the resulting low fidelity of some intervention components that were identified in this study.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2023
Keywords
Physical activity; acceptability; behaviour change; cognitive behavioural therapy; ecological model; feasibility; fidelity; mental health; sedentary behaviour; workplace health promotion.
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Research subject
Medicine/Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-7775 (URN)10.1080/17482631.2023.2258564 (DOI)001067947300001 ()37731364 (PubMedID)
Note

At the time of Lisa-Marie Larisch's dissertation this article was in press at the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Health and Well-being.

Available from: 2023-09-13 Created: 2023-09-13 Last updated: 2024-02-27Bibliographically approved
Larisch, L.-M. (2023). Movement behavior and mental health in office workers: Associations and intervention effects. (Doctoral dissertation). Stockholm: Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Movement behavior and mental health in office workers: Associations and intervention effects
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Mental disorders pose a significant global health challenge. To effectively address this challenge, mental health promotion must be included in various sectors, including workplaces. Various strategies for promoting mental health in the workplace have been suggested, including interventions aimed at improving movement behavior, i.e., sitting less and moving more. Physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SED) are established determinants of mental health. However, there are aspects of the relationship between movement behavior and mental health that are not well understood, for example, the combined effects of all movement behaviors occurring throughout the daily 24-hour cycle, i.e., time in bed, SED, light-intensity physical activity, and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), on mental health. In addition, only a few well-designed workplace interventions for improving movement and mental health outcomes have been tested. Office workers often spend extensive amounts of time being sedentary and might particularly benefit from such interventions. The aims of this thesis were (1) to investigate cross-sectional associations between 24-hour movement behavior and mental health among office workers and (2) to evaluate the efficacy, acceptability, feasibility, and fidelity of two cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) interventions for improving movement behavior and mental health using quantitative and qualitative methods.

In Paper I, we investigated cross-sectional associations between 24-hour movement behavior and mental health outcomes (symptoms of depression and anxiety, burnout, mental wellbeing, and stress) among office workers (N=345-370). Movement behavior was measured using accelerometers and sleep diaries. Mental health outcomes were assessed using validated questionnaires. Only the proportion of time spent in MVPA, relative to all other behaviors, was positively associated with mental wellbeing. 

Papers II-IV were based on a three-armed cluster RCT among office workers (N=263). During the 6-month intervention period, the iSED intervention group focused on reducing SED, and the iPA intervention group focused on increasing MVPA compared to a wait-list control group. The multi-level interventions were designed based on ecological models of health behavior, addressing the individual office workers as well as their physical, social, and organizational work environment. Paper II investigated intervention effects on accelerometer-measured 24-hour movement behavior and cardiorespiratory fitness. We considered overall 24-hour movement behavior and movement behavior during work versus non-work time. No intervention effects were found. Paper III was based on a qualitative study that was embedded in the RCT. It investigated the acceptability, feasibility, and fidelity of intervention components that addressed the individual, environmental and organizational level. Interviews and focus group discussions were performed with 38 key stakeholders after the 6-month intervention period. The study included office workers who received the interventions, health coaches who delivered counseling sessions, team leaders who were responsible for implementing group activities, and human resource and higher management staff who provided support at the organizational level. In general, the interventions were well appreciated, and components seemed to work as intended when delivered as intended. Many office workers experienced improvements in movement behavior and wellbeing and ascribed those to the interventions. Acceptability, feasibility, and fidelity of individual-level components were high but reduced for components depending on team leaders, mainly due to challenges associated with recruiting managers as team leaders and forming teams. Manager and team support were considered crucial for promoting more PA and less SED, yet many participants reported a lack of such support. Thus, identified challenges with these components might have reduced overall intervention efficacy. Paper IV investigated intervention effects on mental health outcomes (symptoms of depression or anxiety, mental wellbeing, and stress). In addition, we explored whether changes in mean PA intensity mediated or moderated intervention effects. The interventions improved mental wellbeing for the combined intervention groups and the iSED group but not for the iPA group compared to the control group. The interventions improved mean PA intensity, but mean PA intensity did not mediate intervention effects on any outcome. Mean PA intensity moderated intervention effects on mental wellbeing. Participants who reduced mean PA intensity reduced mental wellbeing compared to participants who did not change mean PA intensity. This highlights the importance of maintaining high levels of PA for mental wellbeing.

This thesis contributes to existing knowledge by applying a rigorous investigation of cross-sectional associations between 24-h movement behavior and mental health among office workers and by conducting a comprehensive analysis of intervention effects. It offers valuable insights and considerations that may inform occupational health practitioners, employers, policy makers, and researchers and may contribute to developing future effective interventions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH, 2023. p. 175
Series
Avhandlingsserie för Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan ; 31
Keywords
workplace health promotion, mental health, office workers, 24 h movement behavior, physical activity, sedentary behavior, multi-level intervention, ecological model of health behavior, behavior change
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Research subject
Medicine/Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-7769 (URN)978-91-988127-2-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2023-10-13, Aulan, GIH, Lidingövägen 1, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-09-13 Created: 2023-09-12 Last updated: 2024-02-27Bibliographically approved
Ekblom, M., Bojsen-Møller, E., Blom, V., Tarassova, O., Moberg, M., Pontén, M., . . . Ekblom, Ö. (2022). Acute effects of physical activity patterns on plasma cortisol and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in relation to corticospinal excitability.. Behavioural Brain Research, 430, Article ID 113926.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Acute effects of physical activity patterns on plasma cortisol and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in relation to corticospinal excitability.
Show others...
2022 (English)In: Behavioural Brain Research, ISSN 0166-4328, E-ISSN 1872-7549, Vol. 430, article id 113926Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and cortisol are both capable of modulating synaptic plasticity, but it is unknown how physical activity-induced changes in their plasma levels relate to corticospinal plasticity in humans. Sixteen inactive middle-aged men and women participated in three separate interventions consisting of 3hours prolonged sitting (SIT); 3hours sitting interrupted every 30minutes with frequent short physical activity breaks (FPA); and 2.5hours prolonged sitting followed by 25minutes of moderate intensity exercise (EXE). These 3hour sessions were each followed by a 30min period of paired associative stimulation over the primary motor cortex (PAS). Blood samples were taken and corticospinal excitability measured at baseline, pre PAS, 5min and 30min post PAS. Here we report levels of plasma BDNF and cortisol over three activity conditions and relate these levels to previously published changes in corticospinal excitability of a non-activated thumb muscle. There was no interaction between time and condition in BDNF, but cortisol levels were significantly higher after EXE compared to after SIT and FPA. Higher cortisol levels at pre PAS predicted larger increases in corticospinal excitability from baseline to all subsequent time points in the FPA condition only, while levels of BDNF at pre PAS did not predict such changes in any of the conditions. Neither BDNF nor cortisol modified changes from pre PAS to the subsequent time points, suggesting that the increased corticospinal excitability was not mediated though an augmented effect of the PAS protocol. The relationship between cortisol and plasticity has been suggested to be U-shaped. This is possibly why the moderately high levels of cortisol seen in the FPA condition were positively associated with changes AURC, while the higher cortisol levels seen after EXE were not. A better understanding of the mechanisms for how feasible physical activity breaks affect neuroplasticity can inform the theoretical framework for how work environments and schedules should be designed. DATA AVAILABILITY: Data are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2022
Keywords
BDNF, attention, cortisol, motor cortex, paired associative stimulation, plasticity
National Category
Psychiatry Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Medicine/Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-7061 (URN)10.1016/j.bbr.2022.113926 (DOI)000816115000002 ()35568076 (PubMedID)
Funder
Knowledge Foundation, 20160040, 20180151, 20210002
Note

Övriga finansiärer: ICA Gruppen, Intrum, SATS, Monark Exercise, Intrum Justitia

Available from: 2022-05-19 Created: 2022-05-19 Last updated: 2024-03-21
Larisch, L.-M., Blom, V., Kallings, L. & Thedin Jakobsson, B. (2022). Changing movement behavior for improving mental health among office workers: A qualitative study on acceptability, feasibility and fidelity of two RCT interventions. In: : . Paper presented at International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA), Phoenix, May 18-21, 2022.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Changing movement behavior for improving mental health among office workers: A qualitative study on acceptability, feasibility and fidelity of two RCT interventions
2022 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background: Behavior change research suggests that interventions addressing not only the individual, but also the environmental and organizational level might be more effective than those addressing only one. However, few RCTs have tried to change movement behavior among office workers with the aim of improving mental health outcomes, using multi-component interventions that address several levels. Above that, researchers seldomly assess acceptability, feasibility and fidelity of such complex interventions, even though they are considered important moderators of study outcomes. 

Purpose: This study aims at determining aspects of intervention acceptability, feasibility and fidelity of two multi-component cluster RCT interventions among office workers (N=263). Specifically, we want to answer: 

1. How did participants experience specific intervention components as facilitating or hindering a movement behavior change? 

2. Which factors in the work and non-work context did participants experience as facilitating or hindering a movement behavior change? 

3. Were intervention components implemented and perceived as intended? 

Methods The interventions addressed the individual level (counseling sessions based on cognitive behavior therapy and motivational interviewing), the environmental level (e.g. walking meetings or lunch walks organized by team leaders) and the organizational level (participation during work time, employers encouraging participation). One intervention focused on reducing sedentary behavior, the other on increasing physical activity, compared to a wait-list control group. After completion of the 6-month intervention period, audio-recorded interviews and focus group discussions were performed with participants, health coaches delivering the counseling sessions, team leaders and Human Resource staff). Verbatim transcribed data will be analyzed using thematic analysis (Braun&Clarke 2006). An initial codebook based on a-priori themes of interest will be created. Two researchers will apply it to a subset of transcripts, in an inductive fashion whilst allowing for new themes to emerge. Once agreement on a final version of the codebook will be achieved, remaining transcripts will be analyzed accordingly. 

Implications: We expect that the results of this study may help to understand and interpret the results of the quantitative effectiveness evaluations. This study may generate valuable knowledge that can inform future similar studies or workplace health promotion efforts and make their conduct more efficient. 

National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Medicine/Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-7075 (URN)
Conference
International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA), Phoenix, May 18-21, 2022
Available from: 2022-05-27 Created: 2022-05-27 Last updated: 2024-02-27
Larisch, L.-M., Blom, V. & Kallings, L. (2022). Effectiveness of two randomized and controlled multi-component interventions on 24-h movement behavior and mental health outcomes among office workers. In: : . Paper presented at International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA), Phoenix, Arizona, USA, May 18-21.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effectiveness of two randomized and controlled multi-component interventions on 24-h movement behavior and mental health outcomes among office workers
2022 (English)Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background: To date it is unknown whether movement behavior change interventions among office workers are effective for improving mental health. Therefore, we designed a multi-component cluster RCT among office workers (N=263). One intervention group focused on reducing sedentary behavior (SED), the other on increasing moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) compared to a wait-list control group. Based on ecological models of health behavior, intervention components addressed the individual (counseling using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing (MI)), the environmental (group activities such as lunch walks), and the organizational level (companies promoting the interventions internally). Primary outcomes were changes in accelerometer-measured and self-reported SED and MVPA, secondary outcomes were depression and anxiety symptoms, burnout, stress and mental well-being, assessed via validated, web- based questionnaires. Previous analyses using a compositional data analysis (CoDA) approach did not find intervention effects on 24-h movement behavior, i.e., SED, light intensity, moderate or vigorous physical activity. 

Purpose: This study aims at investigating intervention effects on mental health, i.e., depression and anxiety symptoms, burnout, stress and mental well-being. Secondary aims are to describe those participants that achieved a significant change in accelerometer- and device-measured SED and MVPA in comparison to those that did not, and to investigate whether changes in movement behavior were associated with changes in mental well-being. 

Methods: Linear mixed model analysis will be performed to analyze effects on mental health, according to the published study protocol. 

Performing exploratory analyses, quartiles of participants, based on changes in MVPA and SED, will be described on demographic characteristics and compared across quartiles. Change change analyses will investigate whether changes in SED or MVPA are associated with changes in mental well-being. CoDA will be applied, taking the co-dependence of 24-h movement behaviors into account. 

Implications: High sedentariness and sick-leave due to mental illness are challenges associated with office work. This RCT is the first among office workers that applies a multi-component approach to address several levels of health behavior, and that includes CBT and MI techniques. Results may inform occupational health and researcher efforts aiming at addressing the burden of sedentariness and its related consequences on mental health. 

National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Medicine/Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-7074 (URN)
Conference
International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA), Phoenix, Arizona, USA, May 18-21
Available from: 2022-05-27 Created: 2022-05-27 Last updated: 2024-02-27Bibliographically approved
Bojsen-Møller, E. (2022). Movement Behaviors and Cognitive Health for Office Workers. (Doctoral dissertation). Stockholm: Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Movement Behaviors and Cognitive Health for Office Workers
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The lifetime trajectories of movement behavior and cognitive functioning depend on complex interactions between genetic and environmental factors. There is substantial evidence suggesting that physical activity benefits cognitive functions. However, how sedentary behavior and the composition of movement behaviors (i.e., sleep, physical activity, and sedentary behavior) influences cognitive functions remains to be elucidated. 

Observational studies suggest that sedentary time is unfavorably related to cognitive functions in older adults, but the majority of evidence comes from self-reported estimates of movement behavior, which are rather weakly related to device-based measures. Furthermore, while evidence suggests that structured exercise can have protective effects on cognition in inactive older adults, much less is known about how midlife movement behavior is related to cognitive functions. Thus, knowledge of how midlife movement behavior relates to and possibly affects cognitive functions and its underlying mechanisms is much needed. 

This thesis is part of a larger research project investigating how movement behaviors relate to and influence cognitive function, mental health, and neurophysiological mechanisms underpinning these. The project specifically targets healthy office workers and is co-produced with employers of office workers and health-promoting companies. This thesis aimed to investigate how movement behaviors relate to and influence cognitive functions and neuroplasticity among office workers.

The first study investigated cross-sectional relationships between device-measured movement behavior and cognitive functions among 334 office workers. The results revealed no association between total time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity or sedentary behavior and cognitive functions, suggesting that this association may not be as robust as previously suggested in older populations or as inferred from self-report. 

The second study investigated the extent to which corticospinal excitability is influenced by different movement behaviors. Sixteen sedentary office workers participated in a cross-over randomized controlled trial. We contrasted 3 hours of prolonged sitting with 3 hours of interrupted sitting and 2.5 hours sitting followed by a 25-minute bout of exercise. Acute changes in corticospinal excitability and long-term potentiation-like neuroplasticity were investigated using transcranial magnetic stimulation and paired associative stimulation. Changes in corticospinal excitability over time did not differ between conditions, suggesting that in inactive middle-aged office workers, a physical activity bout or frequently breaking up prolonged sitting does not induce immediate changes in corticospinal excitability or long-term potentiation-like neuroplasticity. 

The third and fourth studies are based on a 6-month cluster-randomized intervention conducted in 263 healthy office workers. An ecological model for behavior change was used to design two interventions aiming at reducing sedentary behavior or increasing physical activity relative to a passive control group, with the ultimate aim of improving cognitive functions and mental health. The third study investigated how effective each intervention was at changing the 24-hour movement behavior, and the fourth study examined intervention effects on cognitive functions. The results showed that the interventions were ineffective in reducing sedentary behavior and increasing physical activity, respectively, with no detected beneficial effects on cardiorespiratory fitness or cognitive functions relative to the control group. Changes in cognition from baseline to follow-up were not associated with changes in the composition of movement behaviors or cardiorespiratory fitness, but some associations between changes in movement behaviors and cognition were moderated by sex, age, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Thus, the third and fourth studies of the thesis have highlighted the challenges involved in successfully achieving movement behavior change to address the possible effects on cognitive improvements in an ecological setting.

In summary, the results presented in this thesis did not provide support for an association between movement behaviors and cognitive functions in healthy physically active office workers, demonstrated no acute effect of a single session of physical activity or breaking up prolonged sitting on corticospinal excitability in sedentary office workers, and revealed no evidence for successful movement behavior change or benefits for cognition in an ecological cluster-randomized intervention in healthy physically active office workers. The findings suggest that among physically active office workers, sedentary behavior may not be as detrimental for cognition and neuroplasticity as previously suggested and shows that changing movement behavior in office workers at the workplace represents a challenging endeavor. Still, these findings do not exclude the possibility that changes in movement behaviors might benefit cognitive functions in physically inactive office workers at higher cardiovascular risk, with lower cardiorespiratory fitness and/or lower daily cognitive stimulation. 

Abstract [sv]

Utvecklingen genom livet av såväl kognitiv förmåga som fysiskt aktivitetsmönster beror på en komplex interaktion mellan arv och miljö. Det finns stark evidens för att fysisk aktivitet kan förbättra kognitiv förmåga, men vi saknar kunskap om hur stillasittande och det sammansatta fysiska aktivitetsmönstret (omfattande sömn, fysiskt aktivitet och stillasittande) påverkar kognition.

Observationsstudier på äldre har visat att mer stillasittande tid är relaterat till sämre kognitiv prestation, men de flesta av dessa studier har utgått från självskattat stillasittande. Självskattningar av fysisk aktivitet och stillasittande är ofta ganska svagt associerade till uppmätt fysiskt aktivitetsmönstret. Emedan träning har visat sig ha en skyddande effekt på äldres kognition, så vet man fortfarande väldigt lite om hur det fysiska aktivitetsmönstret i den arbetsföra befolkningen relaterar till och påverkar kognition. Därför behövs det kunskap om hur fysiskt aktivitetsmönster i medelåldern påverkar kognition och vilka mekanismer som ligger till grund för denna effekt.       

Avhandlingen är en del av ett större forskningsprojekt som syftar till att undersöka hur kontorsarbetares fysiska aktivitetsmönster relaterar till och påverkar kognition, psykisk hälsa och neurofysiologiska mekanismer för dessa. Kunskapen samproduceras med arbetsgivare och friskvårdsföretag.

Syftet med denna avhandling var att belysa hur kontorsarbetares fysiska aktivitetsmönster relaterar till och påverkar kognition och neuroplasticitet.

Avhandlingens första studie undersökte sambandet mellan fysiska aktivitetsmönster och kognitiva förmågor bland 334 kontorsarbetare. Studien visade inga samband mellan total tid i medel-till-högintensiv fysisk aktivitet eller stillasittande och prestationen på kognitiva tester. Detta tyder på att sambandet som tidigare påvisats i äldre mellan fysiskt aktivitetsmönster och kognitiva funktioner inte går att generalisera till medelåldern.    

Den andra studien undersökte omedelbara effekter av tre timmars stillasittande uppbrutet av tre olika rörelseinterventioner på kortikospinal neuroplasticitet. Sexton inaktiva kontorsarbetare i medelåldern deltog i tre separata interventioner, genomförda i randomiserad ordning, separerade av minst 7 dagar. Effekter av tre timmars stillasittande jämfördes med tre timmars stillasittande uppbrutet med korta rörelsepauser eller 2,5 timmars stillasittande följt av 25 minuters medelintensiv träning. Transkraniell magnetstimulation användes för att utvärdera kortikospinal retbarhet och svaret på ett neuroplasticitetsinducerande protokoll. Studien fann inga statistiskt säkerställda skillnader mellan de tre experimentella interventionerna. Detta tyder på att ett enskilt träningspass eller uppbrutet stillasittande inte är mer fördelaktigt än långvarigt stillasittande för kortikospinal neuroplasticitet eller retbarhet bland inaktiva kontorsarbetare.     

Vi genomförde sedan en sex månaders ekologisk klusterrandomiserad multikomponent intervention med stöd till mer fysisk aktivitet eller minskat stillasittande bland 263 friska kontorsarbetare i syfte att främja hälsosamma hjärnfunktioner. Stödet gavs på individ, miljö och organisationsnivå. Den tredje studien undersökte hur effektiva interventionerna var på att ändra sammansättningen av det fysiska aktivitetsmönstret från studiens start till sex-månaders-uppföljningen. Den fjärde studien undersökte hur interventionerna påverkade kognition. Varken fysiska aktivitetsmönster, kondition eller kognitiva funktioner påverkades av interventionerna. Ändringar i fysiska aktivitetsmönster och kondition var inte relaterade till ändringar i kognition. Relationen mellan förändringar i sammansättningen av fysiskt aktivitetsmönster och kognition modererades till viss del av kön, ålder och kondition.

Denna avhandling fann sammanfattningsvis inga stöd för samband mellan fysiskt aktivitetsmönster och kognition bland friska kontorsarbetare, inga omedelbara effekt av ett träningspass eller uppbrutet stillasittande på kortikospinal neuroplasticitet bland inaktiva kontorsarbetare och inget stöd för att de utvärderade ekologiska klusterrandomiserade interventionerna med stöd på individ, miljö och organisationsnivå hade effekter på fysiskt aktivitetsmönster eller kognition bland friska kontorsarbetare. Sammantaget tyder fynden på att stillasittande nog inte är så negativt för kognitionen och neuroplasticiteten bland friska, fysiskt aktiva kontorsabetare som tidigare föreslagits. Dessutom belyser resultaten svårigheten med att stödja hållbara förändringar i fysiskt aktivitetsmönster via arbetsplatsen.

Vi kan inte utesluta möjligheten att ändringar i fysiskt aktivitetsmönster kan leda till förbättringar i kognition för fysiskt inaktiva kontorsarbetare med risk för kardiovaskulär sjukdom, lägre kondition och/eller lägre daglig kognitiv stimulation. Framtida interventioner skulle kunna utformas med en mer avgränsad målgrupp i fokus. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH, 2022. p. 91
Series
Avhandlingsserie för Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan ; 23
Keywords
Movement behavior, Physical activity, Sedentary behavior, cognitive functions, neuroplasticity
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Medicine/Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-6966 (URN)978-91-986490-4-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-03-18, Aulan, Lidingövägen 1, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Fysisk aktivitet och hälsosamma hjärnfunktioner bland kontorsarbetare: Delprojekt 3, Långsiktiga interventioner
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2022-02-15 Created: 2022-02-15 Last updated: 2024-02-27Bibliographically approved
Bojsen-Møller, E., Wang, R., Nilsson, J., Heiland, E. G., Boraxbekk, C.-J., Kallings, L. & Ekblom, M. (2022). The effect of two multi-component behavior change interventions on cognitive functions.. BMC Public Health, 22(1), Article ID 1082.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The effect of two multi-component behavior change interventions on cognitive functions.
Show others...
2022 (English)In: BMC Public Health, E-ISSN 1471-2458, Vol. 22, no 1, article id 1082Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: We previously reported the effects of two cluster-randomized 6-month multi-component workplace interventions, targeting reducing sedentary behavior or increasing physical activity among office workers, on movement behaviors and cardiorespiratory fitness. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the effects of these interventions on cognitive functions compared to a wait-list control group. The secondary aims were to examine if changes in cognition were related to change in cardiorespiratory fitness or movement behaviors and if age, sex, or cardiorespiratory fitness moderated these associations.

METHODS: Both interventions encompassed multi-components acting on the individual, environmental, and organizational levels and aimed to change physical activity patterns to improve mental health and cognitive function. Out of 263 included participants, 139 (mean age 43 years, 76% females) completed a neuropsychological test battery and wore accelerometers at baseline and 6-month follow-up. The intervention effect (aim 1) on cognitive composite scores (i.e., Executive Functions, Episodic Memory, Processing Speed, and Global Cognition) was investigated. Additionally, associations between changes in movement behaviors and cardiorespiratory fitness, and changes in cognition were examined (aim 2). Moreover, age, sex, and cardiorespiratory fitness level were investigated as possible moderators of change associations (aim 3).

RESULTS: Overall, cognitive performance improved from baseline to follow-up, but the change did not differ between the intervention groups and the control group. Changes in cardiorespiratory fitness or any movement behavior category did not predict changes in cognitive functions. The association between changes in time in bed and changes in both Executive Function and Global Cognition were moderated by age, such that a more positive relation was seen with increasing age. A less positive association was seen between changes in sedentary behavior and Processing Speed for men vs. women, whereas higher cardiorespiratory fitness was related to a more positive association between changes in moderate-intensity physical activity and Global Cognition.

CONCLUSION: The lack of an intervention effect on cognitive functions was expected since the intervention did not change movement behavior or fitness. Age, sex, and cardiorespiratory fitness level might moderate the relationships between movement behaviors and cognitive functions changes.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN92968402 . Registered 09/04/2018.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central (BMC), 2022
Keywords
Cognitive function, Intervention, Office workers, Physical activity, Sedentary behavior, Workplace
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Medicine/Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-7089 (URN)10.1186/s12889-022-13490-5 (DOI)000803906200002 ()35641971 (PubMedID)
Projects
Fysisk aktivitet och hälsosamma hjärnfunktioner bland kontorsarbetare: Delprojekt 3, Långsiktiga interventioner
Funder
Knowledge Foundation, 20160040, 20180145, 20180151
Note

Övriga finansiärer: ICA Gruppen, Intrum, SATS Elixia

Available from: 2022-06-28 Created: 2022-06-28 Last updated: 2024-02-27
Wang, R., Ekblom, M., Arvidsson, D., Fridolfsson, J., Börjesson, M. & Ekblom, Ö. (2022). The interrelationship between physical activity intensity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and executive function in middle-aged adults: An observational study of office workers.. Frontiers In Public Health, 10, Article ID 1035521.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The interrelationship between physical activity intensity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and executive function in middle-aged adults: An observational study of office workers.
Show others...
2022 (English)In: Frontiers In Public Health, ISSN 2296-2565, Vol. 10, article id 1035521Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Previous evidence supports a beneficial effect of physical activity on executive function across the whole lifespan. Yet, the interrelationships of the intensities of physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and executive function require further investigation in adults.

AIM: Using unfiltered accelerometry data and high-resolution intensity classification, we sought to estimate the associations of physical activity with cardiorespiratory fitness and executive function in adult office workers.

METHODS: We included 343 full-time office workers (mean age: 42.41 years, range of age: 36-49 years). Executive function was assessed using Stroop, Trail making tests (part-B), and 2-back tests, and a composite score was produced to reflect the general executive function performance. Physical activity was assessed using the Actigraph GT3X+-monitor, worn by each participant for seven days at the hip. Raw accelerometry data were processed by the 10 Hz frequency extended method and divided into 22 intensity bins and sleep time. Cardiorespiratory fitness was estimated using the submaximal Ekblom-Bak cycle ergometer test. Data were analyzed using partial least squares regressions.

RESULTS: In adults, cardiorespiratory fitness was closely correlated with a wide range of absolute physical activity intensity patterns. A higher level of executive function in adults was associated with both higher absolute physical activity intensities and cardiorespiratory fitness, which was independent of age, sex, and education levels. A very weak association between intensities, fitness, and executive function was observed in high-fit adults. Among low-fit adults, although a positive association started already toward the upper end of moderate intensity, there still appeared to be an association between intensities, cardiorespiratory fitness, and executive function. That is, cardiorespiratory fitness may mediate the association between absolute physical activity intensities and executive function up to a certain level.

CONCLUSION: The maintenance of executive function in adulthood was related to both physical activity intensities and cardiorespiratory fitness, while their interrelationship was not equal across fitness levels. It is highly recommended to consider the cardiorespiratory fitness level in future studies that focus on executive functions in aging as well when designing individualized physical activity training programs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2022
Keywords
active aging, cardiorespiratory fitness, executive function, office workers, physical activity intensities, E-PABS, EPABS, hjärnhälsa, brain health
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Medicine/Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-7423 (URN)10.3389/fpubh.2022.1035521 (DOI)000890597600001 ()36438224 (PubMedID)
Funder
Knowledge Foundation, 20210002
Note

This research was funded by the Knowledge Foundation (Grant Nos. 20160040 and 20210002) and by the following companies: ICA-gruppen, Intrum, SATS, Elixia, Monark Exercise, and Itrim Sweden.

Available from: 2022-12-02 Created: 2022-12-02 Last updated: 2024-03-22
Wang, R., Blom, V., Nooijen, C. F., Kallings, L., Ekblom, Ö. & Ekblom, M. M. (2022). The Role of Executive Function in the Effectiveness of Multi-Component Interventions Targeting Physical Activity Behavior in Office Workers. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(1), 266-266
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Role of Executive Function in the Effectiveness of Multi-Component Interventions Targeting Physical Activity Behavior in Office Workers
Show others...
2022 (English)In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, ISSN 1661-7827, E-ISSN 1660-4601, Vol. 19, no 1, p. 266-266Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A knowledge gap remains in understanding how to improve the intervention effectiveness in office workers targeting physically active (PA) behavior. We aim to identify the modifying effect of executive function (EF) on the intervention effectiveness targeting PA-behaviors, and to verify whether the observed effect varies by Job Demand Control (JDC) categories. This workplace-based intervention study included 245 participants who were randomized into a control group and two intervention arms—promoting physical activity (iPA) group or reducing sedentary behavior (iSED) group. The interventions were conducted through counselling-based cognitive behavioral therapy and team activities over 6 months. PA-behaviors were measured by an accelerometer. EF was assessed by the Trail Making Test-B, Stroop, and n-back test. The JDC categories were measured by the demand control questionnaire. Higher EF level at baseline was significantly associated with the intervention effect on increased sleep time (β-coefficient: 3.33, p = 0.003) and decreased sedentary time (−2.76, p = 0.049) in the iSED-group. Participants with active jobs (high job demands, high control) presented significantly increased light-intensity PA in the iSED-group in comparison to the control group. Among participants with a high level of EF and active jobs, relative to the control group, the iPA-group showed a substantial increase in light-intensity PA (1.58, p = 0.036) and the iSED-group showed a tendency of reducing sedentary behavior (−5.35, p = 0.054). The findings suggest that office workers with a high EF and active jobs may benefit most from an intervention study targeting PA-behaviors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI, 2022
Keywords
physical activity, sedentary behavior, executive function, job control, job demands, active jobs, self-regulation, health promotion
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Medicine/Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:gih:diva-6896 (URN)10.3390/ijerph19010266 (DOI)000751331000001 ()35010526 (PubMedID)
Projects
Fysisk aktivitet och hälsosamma hjärnfunktioner bland kontorsarbetare: Delprojekt 3, Långsiktiga interventioner
Available from: 2022-01-04 Created: 2022-01-04 Last updated: 2024-02-27
Principal InvestigatorEkblom, Maria
Co-InvestigatorBlom, Victoria
Co-InvestigatorEkblom, Örjan
Co-InvestigatorKallings, Lena
Co-InvestigatorNooijen, Carla F J
Co-InvestigatorBojsen-Møller, Emil
Co-InvestigatorLarisch, Lisa-Marie
Co-InvestigatorLarsson, Kristina
Co-InvestigatorVäisänen, Daniel
Co-InvestigatorHeiland, Emerald G.
Co-InvestigatorDrake, Emma
Co-InvestigatorPantzar, Alexandra
Co-InvestigatorBoraxbekk, Carl-Johan
Co-InvestigatorHagströmer, Maria
Co-InvestigatorKuster, Roman
Coordinating organisation
Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH
Funder
Period
2016-09-01 - 2023-12-31
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
DiVA, id: project:3022Project, id: KK 20160040

Search in DiVA

Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar