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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 902896, 11 pages
Clinical Study

Effect of Workplace- versus Home-Based Physical Exercise on Muscle Response to Sudden Trunk Perturbation among Healthcare Workers: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

1National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Lersø Parkallé 105, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
2Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, SDU Muscle Research Cluster (SMRC), University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense, Denmark
3Physical Activity and Human Performance Group, SMI, Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University, Fredrik Bajers Vej 7, 9220 Aalborg, Denmark
4Electronics and Computer Science, Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences, University of Southampton, University Road, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK

Received 24 April 2015; Accepted 5 July 2015

Academic Editor: Luis-Millán González

Copyright © 2015 Markus D. Jakobsen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. The present study investigates the effect of workplace- versus home-based physical exercise on muscle reflex response to sudden trunk perturbation among healthcare workers. Methods. Two hundred female healthcare workers (age: 42 [SD 11], BMI: 24 [SD 4], and pain intensity: 3.1 [SD 2.2] on a scale of 0–10) from 18 departments at three hospitals were randomized at the cluster level to 10 weeks of (1) workplace physical exercise (WORK) performed in groups during working hours for 5 10 minutes per week and up to 5 group-based coaching sessions on motivation for regular physical exercise, or (2) home-based physical exercise (HOME) performed during leisure time for 5 10 minutes per week. Mechanical and neuromuscular (EMG) response to randomly assigned unloading and loading trunk perturbations and questions of fear avoidance were assessed at baseline and 10-week follow-up. Results. No group by time interaction for the mechanical trunk response and EMG latency time was seen following the ten weeks ( = 0.17–0.75). However, both groups demonstrated within-group changes () in stopping time during the loading and unloading perturbation and in stopping distance during the loading perturbation. Furthermore, EMG preactivation of the erector spinae and fear avoidance were reduced more following WORK than HOME (95% CI −2.7–−0.7 () and −0.14 (−0.30 to 0.02) ()), respectively. WORK and HOME performed 2.2 (SD: 1.1) and 1.0 (SD: 1.2) training sessions per week, respectively. Conclusions. Although training adherence was higher following WORK compared to HOME this additional training volume did not lead to significant between-group differences in the responses to sudden trunk perturbations. However, WORK led to reduced fear avoidance and reduced muscle preactivity prior to the perturbation onset, compared with HOME. This trial is registered with (NCT01921764).