Reducing sedentariness at work

Reducing sedentariness at work

Bike-like device provides portable pedaling device under each desk

GRUELING HOURS in the office are spent glued in front of computers while sitting down for eight hours or so, only standing when making trips to the bathroom or coffee before work starts.

Office workers are at particularly high risk for sedentary related health problems.

Researchers from University of Iowa have come up with a simple but potentially effective way to improve physical activity among office employees: A portable pedaling device under each desk.

According to previous research, sedentary behavior can increase the chances of numerous health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

The bike-like device developed by Dr. Chris Leonhard, a professor and board-certified psychologist who specializes in Behavioral Medicine, called activeLife Trainer was provided to 27 overweight or obese office workers in Iowa City for 16 weeks.

Lucas Carr, co-author of the study, together with his colleagues analyzed the pedal time of each employee by monitoring the attached device. Employees pedaled 50 minutes each day over the 16-week study period, on average.

Each employee was reminded, through email, to alter their posture, stand regularly and offering them tips on how to get more active at work.

The study found office employees who used the pedal device are rewarded with some health benefits.

As a result, employees who engaged in light-intensity physical activity experienced weight loss, had fewer sick days and even had better concentration at work than those who pedaled less. Most of the employees wanted to keep the device, which gives Carr hope that it is something that could be introduced to all offices.

“This is something that could be provided to just about any employee, regardless of the size of their company or office. It’s right at their feet, and they can use it whenever they want without feeling self-conscious in front of their co-workers” Carr stated.

A survey conducted by the British health Foundation found out that almost half of women in the office and nearly 40 percent of men spend less than 30 mi-nutes walking around at work. Ma. Vanessa L. Estinozo with a Medical News Today report

Vital Signs Issue 78 Vol. 4, August 1-31 2015

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