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Cycling Workstations and Productivity

Study compares types of active workstations.

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Your clients likely include deskbound workers who feel they can’t exercise. Well, maybe they can! A recent research review found that cycling as you work at your desk may be a good way to avoid the hazards of office inactivity while simultaneously improving productivity.

Investigators from the Université de Montreal, Quebec, conducted the review to compare the benefits of standing, treadmill and cycling workstations. Results showed that all of these active workstations contributed to short-term productivity benefits, and cycling stations enabled workers to process simple tasks more quickly.

While using treadmill workstations boosted upper-body muscular activity more than standing desks or cycling, the treadmill activity affected keyboarding motor skills. Both cycling and treadmill stations improved heart rate and energy expenditure, increased alertness, and reduced boredom more than standing stations; however, cycling setups improved task-processing speeds the most.

The findings were based on only 11 studies, and study author Marie-Eve Mathieu, PhD, cautioned that more research is needed. “Ultimately, workers and corporations should be able to critically examine the benefits and limitations of each type of workstation and determine which is most appropriate for [a] worker’s specific needs and tasks,” she reported. The takeaway is that different types of workstations each provide various benefits.

The study can be found in Occupational & Environmental Medicine (2019; doi:10.1136/oemed-2018-105397).

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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