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Program Frequency, Training, Retraining, Physical Fitness, Lipids, Conditioning
Non-communicable disease evolved as a major health risk in South Africa and accounts for about 37% of all deaths. This burden also challenges human resources in the corporate environment where poor health status (high health risks) may lead to increased health care costs, lowered productivity and eventually to premature death. Some of the South African companies have tackled this challenge by providing various employee health promotion initiatives. One of the popular contributions in this endeavour is to encourage employees to become more physically active in order to prevent detrimental health risk factors or to remedy the existing factors. A major challenge in this initiative is to keep up the compliance of the employees with their physical conditioning programmes, especially when business responsibilities take them away from their health facilities which, in turn, may lead to physical deconditioning. This endorses the motivation of this research as little information is available in South Africa on the aspect of conditioning, deconditioning and reconditioning in the corporate environment.
In this study, 60 healthy but sedentary employees, ages 28-49 years, from an academic institution were recruited to participate. They were randomly assigned to three groups, where Groups A and B form the experimental groups with Group C the control group. During the initial training phase (first 12 weeks) Group A and B followed a training frequency of three times per week, while retraining took place at a frequency of two and four times per week for Groups A and B, respectively. Group C was not involved in any intervention and continued with their normal daily activities and lifestyle. Results of this study indicated that after training at a program frequency of three times per week, a salutogenic response occurred in the selected physical and biochemical health parameters. With deconditioning, about 50% of the physical benefits were lost, which occurred faster than the decline in the biochemical (lipids) benefits. With reconditioning, a program frequency of two times per week seems to maintain the physiological status, while with a program frequency of four times per week, an improvement reoccurred, exceeding the benefits of the program frequency of three times per week. In conclusion, it is clear that a physical intervention regime, to the apparently healthy employees, can decrease some health risks; but with an interruption of the program, salutogenic benefits will be partially lost. With retraining, a program frequency of two times per week will not produce significant improvement, but will only maintain the physical status.