Being Active While Working

More employees are returning to their corporate offices either full-time or part-time.  While that may create more opportunities for interpersonal interactions, it can also mean more sitting at a desk for extended periods of time.  A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA), explored the impact of active office workstations such as standing, walking or stepping desks.  The study found that such active workstations can generate health benefits without lowering the work performance. 

Specifically, results indicated that active workstations did not diminish essential neurocognitive abilities or fine motor skills accuracy, except for typing speed, which saw a slight advantage while sitting compared to active alternatives. Notably, reasoning scores improved while standing, stepping, and walking, suggesting a nuanced effect of workstation posture on cognitive performance.

These findings align with previous research, indicating that active workstations generally maintain cognitive functions while potentially enhancing fine motor skills. Active workstations, including walking and cycling stations, offer potential benefits in increasing physical activity levels and reducing sedentary behavior, which could mitigate the risk of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Despite the promising results, the study acknowledges limitations such as short-term evaluation, small sample size, and potential biases in the controlled office environment. Future research should explore long-term effects, particularly in real-world office settings, and consider individual factors like job requirements and comorbidities. Overall, implementing active workstations appears beneficial for office workers, potentially improving overall health outcomes by increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior.

Don’t have an active workstation?  Even short periods of activity can help improve your health and your work efforts.  Walk around the block or in your building.  Experts recognize that moving every hour is not feasible for some workers, but recommend 10 minutes of movement for every two hours of sitting.  You might be surprised at how much this frees your mind to flow freely, even hours afterward.