Academic Article


  • 2018

Purpose: To assess age-related differences in physical capacity, occupational physical demands, and relative physical strain at a group level, and the balance between capacity and demands at an individual level, for construction and healthcare workers. Methods: Shoulder strength, back strength, and aerobic capacity were assessed among construction (n = 62) and healthcare workers (n = 64). During a full working day, accelerometers estimated upper-arm elevation, trunk flexion, and occupational physical activity as indicators of occupational physical demands. Simultaneously, normalised surface electromyography (%sEMGmax) of the upper trapezius and erector spinae muscles, and normalised electrocardiography (percentage heart rate reserve (%HRR)) estimated relative physical strain. Differences between younger (≤ 44 years) and older (≥ 45 years) workers, as well as the moderating effect of age on the associations between capacity and demands, were analysed per sector. Results: Compared to younger workers, older workers had similar strength and lower aerobic capacity; older construction workers had similar demands while older healthcare workers had higher demands. Compared to younger workers, older employees had unfavourable muscle activity patterns; %HRR had a tendency to be lower for older construction workers and higher for older healthcare workers. Among construction workers, age moderated the associations between shoulder strength and arm elevation (p = 0.021), and between aerobic capacity...

Merkus, Suzanne; Lunde, Lars-Kristian; Koch, Markus; Wærsted, Morten; Knardahl, Stein; Veiersted, Kaj Bo
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
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