Strength Training for Women as a Vehicle for Health Promotion at Work

Kai Nestler, Alexander Witzki, Ulrich Rohde, Thomas Rüther, Kim Alexander Tofaute, Dieter Leyk

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungBegutachtung


BACKGROUND Women, on average, have less muscle strength than men. This anthropometric-physiological trait may make them more vulnerable to ex - cessive physical strain, injury, and inability to work. Strength training is used for preventive health maintenance and to lessen musculoskeletal symptoms. In this context, we studied whether the degree of muscle strength has any effect on women's health in everyday working life, and also the effects of strength training for women on their health in the workplace. METHODS We systematically searched the PubMed/MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, Web of Science, CENTRAL, and SPOLIT databases for pertinent publications, in accordance with the PRISMA criteria for literature searches. We analyzed all of the retrieved randomized controlled trials conducted on women aged 18 to 65 to determine the effects of training on muscle strength, physical performance ability, and health-related parameters including body composition, musculo - skeletal pain, and subjective well-being. RESULTS We did not find any studies that provided answers to the first question. As for the second question, the selection criteria were met by 12 of the 4969 retrieved studies, which dealt with the effect of strength training on health in the occupational environment and involved a total of 1365 female subjects. These studies were carried out in heterogeneous subject groups, with a variety of overlapping interventions consisting of both strength and endurance training. Significantly increased strength was found in all studies, as was a reduction of pain in all of the studies where this question was asked. Inconsistent results were obtained with respect to body weight, body composition, and subjective well-being. CONCLUSION The interventions that were conducted in these studies succeeded in increasing strength and reducing pain, even when the training was brief and of low intensity. This was true not only for women working in occupations requiring unusual physical strength, but also for those in sedentary occupations. The small number of studies performed on this subject to date is surprising in view of the high prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms in women.
ZeitschriftDeutsches Ärzteblatt international
Seiten (von - bis)439-446
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2017