Saf Health Work.  2014 Dec;5(4):186-190. 10.1016/

Short- and Long-term Effects of a Physical Exercise Intervention on Work Ability and Work Strain in Symptomatic Menopausal Women

  • 1School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.
  • 2UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, Tampere, Finland.
  • 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.


Physical exercise during leisure time is known to increase physical capacity; however, the long-term effects on work ability and work strain are inconclusive. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a 6-month physical exercise program on work ability and work strain after 6 months and 30 months, among women with menopausal symptoms at baseline.
A questionnaire including questions on work ability and work strain was mailed in the beginning, at 6 months and after 30 months after the intervention to occupationally active women participating in a randomized controlled study on physical exercise and quality of life. The intervention included aerobic exercise training 4 times per week, 50 minutes per session. Work ability was measured with the Work Ability Index (WAI) and with questions about physical and mental work strain.
Women aged 47-62 years (N = 89) who were occupationally active at baseline were included in the analyses. The increase in WAI from baseline to the end of the exercise intervention (6 months) was statistically significantly greater among the intervention group than among the control group (regression coefficient 2.08; 95% confidence interval 0.71-3.46). The difference between the groups persisted for 30 months. No significant short- or long-term effects on physical and mental work strain were found.
A 6-month physical exercise intervention among symptomatic menopausal women had positive short-term as well as long-term effects on work ability.


menopause; physical exercise intervention; randomized controlled trial; work ability; work strain
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