Need to Increase Physical Activity? Try an Active Workstation.

If you are like me, you probably have the best intentions in how to incorporate some activity into your workdays. Sometimes it is simply easier said than done.

Examples of activity may include the following:

  • Getting up every hour and taking a short break
  • Taking a brisk walk during the lunch break
  • Going to the gym during the lunch break

There are so many reasons why we all should be incorporating more activities into our workdays. Some reasons include that sedentary positions tend to be associated with:

  • Higher body masses
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes

Note: These are my personal top 3 reasons, for a more complete list, please look here.

We can typically spend between 8 and 12 hours per day sitting. It is a shockingly high value. But, when you think of all the time you actually spend sitting at your desk this number can easily be attained. Even when you add in rest breaks or posture breaks during the work day, the number of hours most of us spend sitting comes up to at least the 8 hour range. When you start to think about all of the other sedentary activity that we do including commuting to work, watching TV at the end of the day, eating, watching sports (hockey!), or going to the theatre or movies, the total amount of sedentary hours can really start to add up!

It comes to a point when our days are just so jammed packed that it seems impossible to add even a little physical activity into our workdays. But, what if you just add a gadget to your workstation that would increase your activity level without negatively affecting your productivity? Ideally, we would also want something fun to do, with a very low learning curve too.

The major benefit of incorporating (up to 60 minutes) of moderate aerobic exercise into your workday:

  • Cognitive abilities
  • Concentration
  • Creativity
  • The success of solving a time-limited task
  • Reaction time
  • Effectiveness of problem solving tasks

Introduction of physical activity during the work day can lead to health and organizational benefits. Physically active office workers are less vulnerable to stress and have more energy, when they are compared to their inactive colleagues.

Why Not Use an Active Workstation? 4 active workstation

Active workstations increase the daily energy consumptions and potentially represent a suitable solution for diminishing physical inactivity at work. An integrated device with pedals on the chair or under the table, stepper, or treadmill may be an appropriate solution for office workers who want to increase energy consumption and it is a potential solution to reduce long-term passive sitting during working hours.

In this study, the authors assessed a cycling workstation. Up to this point, most of the focus in the media has been just with the standard standing desk or a combination with a treadmill.  The benefits of a cycling workstation are:

  • Balance was improved with less upper body movement that is required for walking.
  • Allows for steady hand-eye coordination necessary during computer work
  • Allows for light intensity activity necessary to short circuit the physiological mechanisms by which sedentary behaviour exerts its negative impact
  • Reduces the changes of falls that can occur while walking on treadmills.
  • Thinking (cognitive function) is not impaired.
  • Performance was not negatively affected when the intensity of the cycling activity was low to moderate

I think that we are reaching a turning point in how we spend our daily lives. As much as we would all like to get more active, sometimes our schedules just do not allow this. Using an active workstation, like the cycling workstation described here, is a viable solution that will make reaching an active lifestyle much more attainable.

What is the one limiting factor of using an active workstation? Sweating of course! Most of us don’t want to be sweating while we are at the office (I know I don’t). Can you picture getting called into a client meeting, just after a high-intensity exercise bout? No Thanks! Low intensities are always best to start this transition with. 

Personally, I think that a cycle workstation would be extremely viable when doing administrative tasks.

What do you think? Can you picture yourself using something like this? Or, if you already do, would you recommend it? Let us know! Leave a comment below! 

 

Source

Koren, K., Pisot, R. & Simunic, B. (2016). Active workstation allows office workers to work efficiently while sitting and exercising moderately. Applied Ergonomics. 54, 83-89.

 

Through the administration of countless assessments in both private and public sectors, Darcie has gained a wealth of knowledge and built a successful practice in the field of ergonomics. She has extensive expertise in conducting office ergonomics assessments in large scale workplaces for all different types of scenarios, from simple adjustments to incredibly complex cases. Darcie also has vast experience in delivering training presentations on the various aspects of ergonomics “best practices” in the workplace. Darcie is a Certified Professional Ergonomist through the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics, as recognized by the International Ergonomics Association. She also has a Masters of Science, specializing in ergonomics. A little known fact about Darcie is that she once scored from half, off a free kick, in a university varsity soccer (football) match!

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