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Treadmill Workstations: The Effects of Walking while Working on Physical Activity and Work Performance

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We conducted a 12-month-long experiment in a financial services company to study how the availability of treadmill workstations affects employees’ physical activity and work performance. We enlisted sedentary volunteers, half

We conducted a 12-month-long experiment in a financial services company to study how the availability of treadmill workstations affects employees’ physical activity and work performance. We enlisted sedentary volunteers, half of whom received treadmill workstations during the first two months of the study and the rest in the seventh month of the study. Participants could operate the treadmills at speeds of 0–2 mph and could use a standard chair-desk arrangement at will. (a) Weekly online performance surveys were administered to participants and their supervisors, as well as to all other sedentary employees and their supervisors. Using within-person statistical analyses, we find that overall work performance, quality and quantity of performance, and interactions with coworkers improved as a result of adoption of treadmill workstations. (b) Participants were outfitted with accelerometers at the start of the study. We find that daily total physical activity increased as a result of the adoption of treadmill workstations.

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Date Created
  • 2014-02-20

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Chair-based fidgeting and energy expenditure

Description

Introduction Sedentariness is associated with chronic health conditions, impaired cognitive function and obesity. Work contributes significantly to sedentariness because many work tasks necessitate sitting. Few sustained solutions exist to reverse

Introduction Sedentariness is associated with chronic health conditions, impaired cognitive function and obesity. Work contributes significantly to sedentariness because many work tasks necessitate sitting. Few sustained solutions exist to reverse workplace sedentariness. Here, we evaluated a chair and an under-table device that were designed to promote fidgeting while seated. Our hypothesis was that an under-table leg-fidget bar and/or a fidget-promoting chair significantly increased energy expenditure. We compared these devices with chair-based exercise and walking.
Materials and methods We measured energy expenditure and heart rate in 16 people while they sat and worked using a standard chair, an under-desk device that encourages leg fidgeting and a fidget-promoting chair. We compared outcomes with chair-based exercise and walking.
Results Energy expenditure increased significantly while using either an under-table leg-fidget bar or a fidget-promoting chair, when compared to the standard office chair (standard chair, 76±31 kcal/hour; leg-fidget bar, 98±42 kcal/hour (p<0.001); fidget chair, 89±40 kcal/hour (p=0.03)). However, heart rate did not increase significantly in either case. Bouts of exercise performed while seated provided energetic and heart rate equivalency to walking at 2 mph.
Conclusions Chairs and devices that promote fidgeting can increase energy expenditure by ∼20–30% but not increase heart rate. Dynamic sitting may be among a lexicon of options to help people move more while at work.

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Date Created
  • 2016-09-01