Leisure-time physical activity and some psychological parameters among some executive employees in selected African countries

25 February 2015

Participation in leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) is vital to ensure adequate physical work capacity for the demands of daily living and job performance. Due to work demand, most top and middle level (executive) managerial employees become physically inactive and experience psychological and other health problems which may lead to hypokinetic diseases and even premature death. The purpose of this study was twofold: to determine leisure-time physical activity and psychological well-being of executive employees; and to determine the relationship between leisure-time physical activity and psychological well-being of executive employees in selected African countries. A cross-sectional study design was carried out on a group of 156 (mean age; 41.22±10.17 years) available executive employees from selected African countries. Participants were grouped according to ages (≤35 years; 36–46 years and ≥ 45 years). Standardized questionnaires were used to collect the data. Subsequently, total scores were calculated for all variables. Out of 156 participants in the study, 42.9% occupied top level management and 57.1% middle level management positions. Age groups analysis indicated that, 31% and 68.6% in the less than 35 years age group were in the top and the middle levels management positions respectively. In the age group 36 to 46 years, 47% occupied the top level management position and 52.8% occupied the middle level management position. With regard to LTPA, top level managers (71.6%) scored low LTPA compared to the middle level managers (62.9%). In addition, both the top and middle level managers reported bad emotional (49.3%; 56.2%) and happiness indexes (41.8%; 37.1%) respectively. Though not significant, LTPA was positively associated with psychological well-being parameters amongst top level managers. The study concluded that both top and middle levels managers exhibited low LTPA, and with no participation in high physical activity among top level managers. In addition, more middle level managers reported bad emotional stage than the top level managers, while the top level managers were less happy than the middle level managers. It is recommended that urgent strategic intervention programmes for leisure-time physical activity and psychological wellness are needed to promote physical health and well-being of the executive employees.