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Be Active at Work

Physical Activity and Shift Work

Anyone who works shift work knows that it can take a toll on sleep patterns and energy levels. In fact it can lead to a range of health problems. But it's easy to minimize these concerns by having a regular physical activity routine.

There are plenty of long-term benefits as well, like reducing the risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Adult-onset diabetes
  • Colon and breast cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Depression

Physical Activity and Shift WorkHere are some tips for incorporating physical activity into your shift work schedule:

  • Whether working a night or day shift, establish a "wake-up" routine and try to make physical activity a part of it.
  • Incorporate short sessions of physical activity throughout your shift. Take a break and go for a quick walk outside or simply stand up and stretch for a few minutes.
  • Join a badminton, soccer, hockey or basketball league with colleagues who are working similar shifts. This should be easy to book during the day, when fields and recreation facilities are more available.
  • To ensure that you will be able to fall asleep relatively easily, do not exercise vigorously two hours before your major sleep of the day.

Adapted from: http://www.healthunit.org/physact/work/work.htm#Shift.
Retrieved: April 12, 2006.

Learn more about the three types of physical activity or active living at work.

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Be Active at Work

Revised: February 09, 2010

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