With the growing movement to sit less at work, there are more options to stay active in the office than ever before. Growing numbers of companies are adding wellness programs that encourage and incentivize employees to join gyms, have walking meetings at their treadmill desks, and track their activity through wearable devices such as FitBit and the Apple Watch. It’s great to see how many more people have taken an active interest in exercise because of the amount of hours they’ve been working have been increasing and it’s not going unnoticed.
More people are seeking active workstations as well. These active workstations include standing desks, sit/stand desks, treadmill desks, and stationary bike desks. With so many available options that can be used at work, it’s no surprise that many companies are incorporating a few of these options into their offices for employees to use. Is there a best or preferred option for those seeking the best solution for their office?
The Journal of Occupational Health Psychology wanted to test what option is best to work at. The research team assigned 180 individuals four working options – a seated desk, a standing desk, a treadmill desk, and a bike desk. The researchers measured participants’ performance levels in terms of boredom, stress, and satisfaction while engaging in work tasks. The study concluded that those who used treadmill desks were less bored, less stressed, and more satisfied than the people who were working while sitting, standing, or riding the stationary bike.
The study’s co-author Michael Slither also explained that work performance did not suffer while using a treadmill desk:
“We were able to show that these active workstations have psychological benefits without performance detriment,”
The exception was for the bike desk. Those using the cycling desk generally performed worse and were more stressed than the other participants. Dr. Sliter, who uses a treadmill desk himself for 3 hours a day, was surprised at how challenging a bike desk was for the participants.Using a bike desk requires you to consciously have to peddle to get the activity. A treadmill desk, however, becomes also unconscious movement because the belt always is moving.Your mind is then free to focus on your work tasks.
Recently, a psychology professor at Clemson University found that any sort of movement while working has a positive link between mood, motivation, and physical activity. June Pilcher, found that while using a bicycle desk, movement while you work can have an “Improving positive affect, which could mean improved problem-solving, decision-making, responsibility and creativity, all important implications for the workplace.” Essentially, anything is better than sitting, and an active space at work can produce major improvement in employees, not just for their health but for so much more.
Having the option to bring physical activity to the workplace, and improve health and well-being has become a priority in today’s modern society. Being able to walk at your desk is not a fad, but a new way of life, and you’ll feel better about the active change you’ve made for yourself during your 9-5 days.
Joanna has been a part of the Rebel Desk team from the very beginning! She contributes regularly on the Rebel Desk blog and enjoys sharing her experiences with walking and working. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.