Pedal your way to better health at work

Study tests portable device that desk-bound workers could use.

A mini exercise bike that can be used while working at a desk could help improve the health of office workers and others with sedentary jobs, according to a new study.

The device includes a set of pedals that can be set up in front of most office chairs and used while a person is seated.

The study participants were mostly female, overweight and 40 years old, on average. They spent at least 75% of their workday sitting at a desk or work station. They generally used the portable pedal machines on 12 of 20 workdays and for an average of 23 minutes each of those days.

The findings

The "distance" pedalled each day by the participants ranged from a third of a mile to nearly 13.5 miles, and they burned from nine to more than 2100kJ a day, the study found.

The participants said they found the portable pedal machine easy to use and would use such a device regularly at work if they were offered one by their employer. They also said their productivity and quality of work were not affected when they used the machine.

Doing just 23 minutes of pedalling a day on a regular basis could improve a person's health, according to the researchers.

The study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

(HealthDay News, February 2011)

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