Cycling Workstations and Productivity

Study compares types of active workstations.

By Shirley Archer, JD, MA
Aug 20, 2019

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, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at

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