Researchers have found that a cycling desk might be the perfect technology for us to break up our days sitting. The fatal risks of 8+ hours of sedentary time every day are well known. Yet whether we’re working hours at a computer, or sitting at home, it’s hard to shake the habit.
Battling our sedentary lifestyle with a cycling desk
Our exposure to “sedentary behaviors” has increased in the modern age. This lifestyle has been recognized as a risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity as well as poorer cognitive function, and mental distress. What’s more worrying is that studies have shown that going for a daily workout at the gym doesn’t offset these risks.
Now, could active workstations like a cycling desk encourage employees to move throughout the day? It appears to be a win-win situation: move without actually leaving your desk.
Researchers from the University of Iowa engineered and implemented this theory into workplaces. In the study, which appeared in this month’s edition of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, researchers found that workers who pedalled more were more likely to report weight loss, improved concentration, and fewer sick days than sedentary co-workers.
Desk with pedals: A gym space in the office?
“We wanted to see if workers would use these devices over a long period of time, and we found the design of the device is critically important,” said Lucas Carr, assistant professor of health and human physiology at the University of Iowa.
Privacy was an essential component for success, researchers explained. Very few people want to be seen sweating while exercising and burning calories at work. Shared devices in the office hall are a great idea in theory, but they don’t work over the long haul for most people, Carr noted.
Researchers found that when the machine was the individual’s own one to pedal, it got more use. In fact, at the end of the study, 70 percent of the participants kept their cycling desk.
Redesigning traditionally sedentary environments
This tactic is slightly different than traditional attitudes which encourage employees to be more active during non-working hours.
Carr told Medical Research, that there are a number of sustainable approaches that could help reducing sedentary time at work.
Besides treadmill work stations and the portable pedalling device under the desk there are several other tech-based solutions including wearable technologies and new software’s that have great potential to improve health behaviors, he said.
Would you ever use a cycling desk at work? Share your views in the comments section below.