Kent State Examines Benefits of Group Activity Programs

It’s common knowledge that an active lifestyle is a good idea, but is there proof?

Researchers at Kent State University (KSU) of Ohio started digging into the same question, formulating their findings into a study titled, “The Physiological and Psychological Effects of a Faculty / Staff Exercise Program in a University Setting.” Their challenge began with the statistic that only 32 percent of adults regularly participate in physical activity.

Can a successful wellness program help change this? 

In their hypothesis, KSU researchers stated that a group activity program for its faculty and staff would:

  • Increase activity and reduce health risk factors
  • Increase participants’ perceived quality of life

In designing their action plan, researchers leaned on data from the scientific community:

  • Sedentary lifestyle is responsible for 1/3 of deaths by cardiovascular disease, dermatomyositis and cancer** 
  • A similar physical activity study to KSU’s reported a reduction in medical costs of $1,022.96 per participant*** 
  • Participation in a workplace physical activity program increased average steps per day and decreased body mass index (BMI)+ 
  • Physical activity programs are shown to have a positive influence on depression, anxiety, stress response, mood state, self-esteem and premenstrual syndrome++ 

Putting the activity program into action, KSU's researchers signed up 54 faculty and staff members committed to engaging in exercise three days a week for 12 weeks, using the Movband device to track their progress.

Following the 12 weeks of research and physical activity, participants were tested against baseline numbers they registered prior to starting the study including: fitness assessments, body composition, aerobic capacity, psychological data, cholesterol levels and more.

In every variable, participants in the program either improved or stayed the same after introducing regular physical activity into their daily lives – giving researchers enough data to conclude that not only did the 12-week program help improve important psychological and physiological variables, but it also helped reduce health risk factors and, in the long-term, would “prove to be cost-effective by reducing health care costs.” 

To read about how DHS Group was able to be a part of KSU's research, check out our case study here. For more information on setting up a physical activity program for your staff, follow the button below to enter your contact information and one of our Business Development Managers will get in touch to schedule an introductory call or product demo.


* Information, unless otherwise noted as coming from another study, is via “The Physiological and Psychological Effects of a Faculty/Staff Exercise Program in a University Setting,” a research study by: E. Glickman, M. Rebold, M. Kobak, D. Corbett, K. Peroutky, J. Gunstad and C. Fennell. 

**Powell, KE, Blair SN

***Anderson LM, Quinn TA, Glanz K, et. Al

+Bravata DM, Smith-Spanger C, Sundaram V, et. Al

++Scully D, Kremer J, Meade MM, et. Al