Background: The nursing workforce is ageing and increased age and demands at work, can impact on physical activity levels in the workplace and at leisure. Research has shown that work physical activity, without activity at leisure, is insufficient to prolong well-being. This study investigated the physical activity levels of a sample of nurses and aimed to determine if age and job demands are associated with engaging in recommended physical activity levels at work and at leisure.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with data collected during 2016. Two-hundred and ten nurses participated in the study. Two validated instruments were used: the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (quantitative and cognitive demands) and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire.
Results: Older nurses (>= 40-years) were significantly less likely to report engaging in recommended physical activity levels at work than younger nurses [OR 0.47, 95% CI (0.25-0.88) p = 0.02]. Nurses with high quantitative demands were over twice as likely to engage in recommended levels of physical activity at work and at leisure. Engaging in recommended levels of physical activity at work was not associated with leisure-time physical activity reports.
Conclusion: Initiatives need to be put in place to ensure older nurses can fulfil their nursing role within their capabilities. These could include offering personal physical activity education to both on and off-duty nurses. Assessment of ability and patient acuity may be necessary.