Research/studies Worker health and wellness

Pedaling devices under workers’ desks can increase physical activity: study

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Iowa City, IA – Using portable pedaling devices can help desk workers increase their physical activity, according to research from the University of Iowa.

During the 16-week study, 27 workers used a pedal device, similar to the pedals on a bicycle, under their desk. A monitor measured their pedal time, which averaged 50 minutes per day. Participants also received three weekly emails with guidance for increasing movement and reminders to change posture and regularly stand.

Workers who used the device more were more likely to lose weight, concentrate better and take fewer sick days. Researchers also found “significant associations” between device use and improvements in “cardiometabolic biomarkers” such as resting heart rate and body fat percentage, according to the study abstract. Additionally, 70 percent of participants decided to keep their devices.

Privacy, comfort and ease of use were important to the workers, a university press release states, adding that making physical activity easier to do is crucial to prompting workers to move more.

The study was published online Aug. 7 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.