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Active Lifestyle Concept (ALC): a health and fitness enhancing concept at the workplace
  1. D Lagerstrøm
  1. Asst Prof, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway & Honorary of the German Association for Health-Related Fitness and Sports Therapy

Abstract

The ongoing changes in society and in the workplace setting have lead to a new major challenge: health problems caused by sedentary lifestyle. With our background and experience of more than 30 years in the field of workplace health promotion, and with a focus on health related physical activity and well-being, we were able to achieve excellent results in the area of physical health, not only in small companies, but in large international companies such as Dynamit Nobel, Ruhrkohle and Siemens. Some of the noteworthy results are a reduction of 50% in spinal depression during an 8-h work shift as a result of a change in the daily routine such as standing up when using the phone – which does not conflict with breaks or work-time (Eckey et al, 1987), and an improvement of aerobic capacity of 15–20% within 12 weeks by individuals with sedentary lifestyles as a result of walking 20 floors a day (Lagerstrøm/Froboese 1997). At the same time we also identified a growing challenge, caused by the general lack of physical activity in our society. This has led us to develop new strategies and concepts, with a strong focus on the laws of nature, such as the stimulus and economising principles, and a focus on people whose primary motive of staying physically active is not necessarily sports or fitness-training (Lagerstrøm 2010). This ‘Active Lifestyle Concept’ therefore concentrates on establishing a concept where the company's responsibility is to establish activities and programmes that lead to an individual self-concept and long-term effects concerning a healthy and active lifestyle. The quality management includes structure, process and result management. In order to base the recommendations and programmes on individuality, we use questionnaires, screening and test protocols, which are easy, safe and reproducible. To avoid negative experiences, which is very important to people with sedentary lifestyles, we focus on basic activities, movement and skills, try to avoid overstress in the programme as well as at the workplace, and build up a process and stabilise a good psychosomatic balance in the long term. To achieve this, we also apply the principles of the Norwegian ‘Friluftsliv’ (not sports-related, nature based, outdoor activities and behaviour). Besides the special workplace activities, we also have a great focus on activities of daily living and leisure time activities, which can lead to an active lifestyle without sports and fitness-training (Lagerstrøm 2010).

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