Walking Workstations Can Improve Mental & Physical Health

Going to work is often associated with high stress and low physical activity. For many, work is characterized by long hours of sitting, which is linked to poor health.

Emerging research has shown that sitting is very bad for our mental health, increases our chance of heart disease and ups our risk of being disabled.

Researchers have also found that the people who sit most are more likely to be obese.

With these concerns in mind Dr. Michael Sliter, an assistant professor of psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), has developed a walking workstation that can be used to burn off stress and calories.

“We found that the walking workstations, regardless of a person’s exercise habits or body mass index (BMI), had significant benefits,” Sliter said.

“Even if you don’t exercise or if you are overweight, you’ll experience both short-term physical and psychological benefits.”

A sample of 180 participants were evaluated on boredom, task satisfaction, stress, arousal, and performance while completing work-related computer tasks across four randomly assigned workstations: seated, standing, cycling, or walking.

The researchers found walking workstation participants had higher satisfaction and arousal, while experiencing less boredom and stress than the standing and sitting workstation participants.

In comparison, the cycling workstation related to reduced satisfaction and performance.

The paper, which Sliter wrote entirely while using a walking workstation, appears online in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.

Sliter hopes the study encourages employers to examine methods to assist workers in healthy living.

Source: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)