Half of your employees could have back problems

Many employers have started to realize that resources spent on improving the health of their employees health is an investment. Recently there has been an increasing amount of discussions about the potential threats of cardiovascular diseases and how to prevent them, but there is a second alarming illness trend that influences an even larger number of people.

Every second person admits to having back pains and/or trouble with their spine. Back pains can distract and discomfort us daily, lower the quality of life and become an additional cost to your employer due to decrease in productivity and motivation.

2460 people among SportID users participated in a questionnaire about their health and habits, motivations to exercise and reasons not to. 44% of the participants were men, 56% women. 75% work mostly sitting and 25%   have non-desk job.

If there is a need, there will be a way to achieve it

Based on the questionnaire, a great number of people value physically active lifestyle and know the health benefits of sporting but in reality lack the time to actually put the knowledge into use.

Of the respondents 98% agreed that it is important to be physically active, 99,5% knew that sport has a positive effect on their health and  96% said that athletic people can be considered as role models.


However, 64% state that they do not exercise as much as they should and 89% claimed that, given the possibility, they would like to be more active.

However, 64% state that they do not exercise as much as they should.


Reasons why people do not exercise:

52% – lack of time

15% – lack of motivation

10% –  cost

5% – health doesn’t permit

5% – can’t find exercise partner

3% – no equipment available


Based on the statistics we can claim that most people would like to be physically more active and know the positive effects of sporting, but lack the time to actually do it.  Among the respondents who said they already are physically active, the time factor decreased to 47% and the lack of motivation increased to 20% .


Reasons why people exercise:

92% – to feel good

87% – to be healthy

50% – to improve athletic ability

50%  – to lose weight  

Every second person has back problems

Reason for a real concern is that 51% of the 2460 respondents admitted to having back pains or problems with their spine.

83% believed the pains to be caused by work related factors such as stationary position, unsuitable (or insufficient)  equipment and/or not taking enough breaks to stand up and move around.

57% of all respondents feel they could use more info about how to prevent and cure back problems, and 61% thought that their employer should help to provide that info.

Surprisingly, the percentage of respondents who have problems with their back was similar between those who exercise and those who do not, 50% and 55% accordingly. It appears that preventing and/or lessening back pains needs a targeted approach.

Reason for a real concern is that 51% of the 2460 respondents admitted to having back pains or problems with their spine.


What could be the way forward

The positive aspect of this is that the employers can do their part on improving the health of their employees by simple steps. Based on the research, such initiative would be expected as well as appreciated by employees.

76% of respondents said that their employer could do more to lead employees towards a healthier lifestyle. There is probably some selection bias here, as the subjects were employees from the companies who already provide sports benefits.  This means that overall, the percentage could be even higher.


94% said that providing sport benefits makes the company more desirable as an employer for them.

66% believed that companies should provide activities to encourage physically active lifestyle. 34% thought it to be the responsibility of the employees.

We can conclude that offering sport benefits, encouraging physical activities and providing info about preventing health issues does not only help to increase the motivation of employees and productivity but will also help to increase companies overall prestige and make it more desirable as an employer.

Last but not least, when asked, what people mostly miss in their life, majority wished for have more time and rest. Make yourself and your back a favour, stand up, stretch and pause for a moment in your busy day.

Study was carried out amongst SportID users. Study was conducted in November 2017 by Britta Aduson, Kristjan Kimmel, Marti Soosaar.

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