Occupational groups exposed to high occupational physical activity have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). This may be explained by the high relative aerobic workload. Enhanced cardiorespiratory fitness reduces the relative aerobic workload. Thus, the aim was to evaluate the 12-months effects of worksite aerobic exercise on risk factors for CVD among cleaners.
One hundred and sixteen cleaners aged 18–65 years were randomized to a group performing aerobic exercise and a reference group receiving lectures. Outcomes were collected at baseline and after 12-months. A repeated measures 2×2 multi-adjusted mixed-model design was applied to compare the between-group differences using intention-to-treat analysis.
Between-group differences (p<0.05) were found favouring the aerobic exercise group: cardiorespiratory fitness 2.15 (SE 1.03) mlO2/min/kg, aerobic workload -2.15 (SE 1.06) %HRR, resting HR -5.31 (SE 1.61) beats/min, high sensitive C-reactive protein -0.65 (SE 0.24) μg/ml. The blood pressure was unaltered. Stratified analyses on relative aerobic workload at baseline revealed that those with relative aerobic workloads ≥30% of HRR seems to impose a notable adverse effect on resting and ambulatory blood pressure.
This long-term worksite aerobic exercise intervention among cleaners led to several beneficial effects, but also potential adverse effects among those with high relative aerobic workloads.