Posted on Dec 04, 2018, 11 p.m.
A recent pilot study from the University of Massachusetts kinesiologists suggests that pedaling while working at tasks improved insulin responses to a test meal, finding insulin levels were lower when sedentary workers used pedal desk without decreasing work skills as published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Physical activity and sedentary work environments are linked to higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease through insulin resistance and other mechanisms, pedal desks may be a way to help fight the growing obesity epidemic; pedal desks were concluded to have potential to help achieve public and occupational health goals in sedentary work environments.
The team suggests rather than approaching the problem by trying to squeeze in intermittent activity into sedentary work routines, approaches such as integrating light physical activity into the work day via methods such as pedal desks into the work day may be the solution. Alternatives such as standing desks and treadmill desks are not feasible for an entire shift and carry some barriers, where as a pedal desk can be used in a seated position, at the users own pace for as little or as long as the worker chooses to.
12 overweight/obese full time sedentary office workers were recruited for this study who were tested in 2 conditions: pedaling at self selected light intensity pace for 2 hours; or while seated for 2 hours working at a conventional desk; both work conditions participants performed computer based tasks and were evaluated on mouse proficiency, typing speed, accuracy, reading comprehension, and concentration. Blood samples were taken from participants after eating light meals for analysis of metabolic responses or insulin, glucose, and free fatty acids.
Pedal desk use was reported to require significantly less insulin to maintain glucose concentrations, meaning the body doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain blood glucose and fatty acid levels; from metabolic point of view pedal desks seem to be helpful, from work point of view the pedal bikes did not impair work tasks. Future studies will explore impacts of pedal desks on those with diabetes.
Materials provided by University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
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Ho Han, Jongil Lim, Richard Viskochil, Elroy J. Aguiar, Catrine Tudor-Locke, Stuart R. Chipkin. Pilot Study of Impact of a Pedal Desk on Postprandial Responses in Sedentary Workers. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2018; 50 (10): 2156 DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001679