Incorporating practical, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into the workplace: Examining the impact on physiological and psychological health, absenteeism, and work productivity

Among office workers, physical activity has been shown to have the potential to improve absenteeism, work productivity and psychological and physical health.

Dr. Stork’s research will incorporate physical activity into the workplace using high-intensity interval training (HIIT) – short-duration exercise that consists of multiple brief, high-intensity efforts, separated by periods of rest.

In Phase 1, physically inactive office employees will undergo an 8-week HIIT program of either one daily HIIT session completed during lunch break, or brief exercise bouts dispersed throughout the workday as 'exercise snacks.' Phase 2 will deliver an 8-week optimized HIIT program designed for sustainability based on a process evaluation of Phase 1. Dr. Stork will measure physical and psychological health, physical activity behaviour, absenteeism and work productivity immediately and up to six months following the program.

The HIIT programs will be implemented in Kelowna's Landmark Centre office towers. Community partners will be engaged early on in the research process to work together to successfully ensure that the program is evidence-based and implemented in a sustainable manner that adequately serves the community. The HIIT programs implemented will undergo a process evaluation to better understand the barriers and facilitators and to optimize and tailor the design and delivery of future programs.