Nav: Home

Cycling and treadmill workstations may be 'healthier' than standing options

January 28, 2019

Cycling and treadmill workstations may be 'healthier' than standing versions, because their use seems to be associated with greater positive physiological changes in the body, finds a systematic review of the available evidence, published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

But treadmill versions can interfere with computer work, the findings indicate.

Long periods spent sitting down, including at work, are associated with certain health risks, and it is thought that the global cost of sedentary lifestyles is more than US$65 billion (£50.5 billion) a year.

A growing body of research suggests that active workstations may help to counter some of these risks and even boost productivity. But the pros and cons of each type aren't entirely clear.

To try and shed some light on their potential impact on health and productivity, the researchers trawled databases looking for relevant studies comparing at least two out of treadmill, cycling, and standing workstations.

Twelve studies (out of 274 initially selected) were included in the final analysis, which looked at the effect on muscles and physiology--average heart rate, blood pressure, energy expenditure-perceived exertion and pain tolerance, and cognitive performance at work--processing speeds, attention and short-term memory.

All types of workstation were associated with a short-term boost in productivity.

But cycling and treadmill workstations seemed to be associated with greater short-term physiological changes than standing versions. This might be better for longer term health, suggest the researchers.

Treadmill workstations got people moving and increased upper body muscular activity more than did standing versions. But the upper body effort needed to stabilise gait and posture on a treadmill workstation might affect the fine motor skills needed for keyboarding, explain the researchers.

Both treadmill and cycling workstations boosted heart rate and energy expenditure while prompting a drop in blood pressure during the working day compared with standing workstations, the findings showed.

And treadmill and cycling workstations also increased alertness and reduced boredom more than standing versions did. What's more, treadmill versions were associated with lower stress scores.

Cycling workstations improved simple processing task speeds the most. But treadmill workstations interfered with fine motor skills, such as typing, mouse pointing, and keyboarding.

The results of the review suggest that the pros and cons of each type of workstation may not be directly comparable, say the researchers. And employers may need to gauge which type is most appropriate for the needs of their staff.

The researchers sound a note of caution about the strength of the available evidence, however: only 11 of the studies they included directly compared different types of workstation; the outcomes measured were all short term; and the most comprehensive studies were relatively small in size.

"With workers and the workplace slowly moving towards active workstations, future long-term studies integrating different types of active workstations should be conducted in order to provide additional evidence," they emphasise.

"Ultimately, workers and corporations should be able to critically examine the benefits and limitations of each type of workstation and determine which is most appropriate for the worker's specific needs and tasks," they conclude.
-end-
Peer reviewed? Yes
Evidence type: Systematic Review
Subjects: Equipment and people

BMJ

Related Blood Pressure Articles:

Do you really have high blood pressure?
A study by researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) shows that more than half of family doctors in Canada are still using manual devices to measure blood pressure, a dated technology that often leads to misdiagnosis.
Why do we develop high blood pressure?
Abnormally high blood pressure, or hypertension, may be related to changes in brain activity and blood flow early in life.
For some, high blood pressure associated with better survival
Patients with both type 2 diabetes and acute heart failure face a significantly lower risk of death but a higher risk of heart failure-related hospitalizations if they had high systolic blood pressure on discharge from the hospital compared to those with normal blood pressure, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the American College of Cardiology's 66th Annual Scientific Session.
$9.4 million grant helps scientists explore how cell death from high blood pressure fuels even higher pressure
It's been known for decades that a bacterial infection can raise your blood pressure short term, but now scientists are putting together the pieces of how our own dying cells can fuel chronically high, destructive pressure.
Blood pressure diet improves gout blood marker
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and reduced in fats and saturated fats (the DASH diet), designed decades ago to reduce high blood pressure, also appears to significantly lower uric acid, the causative agent of gout.
More Blood Pressure News and Blood Pressure Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...