For a while, standing desks have taken the forefront of workplace wellness equipment, seeming to be a logical way to get workers up on their feet.
As we recently shared, both sitting for too long and standing for too long can be equally bad for your health, which puts the effectiveness of standing desks alone in question.
Now, there’s a new trend in workplace wellness to watch: portable pedaling devices!
Turn Your Desk into a Stationary Bike
According to research from the University of Iowa, employees that are given a portable pedaling device (PPD) to place under their desk get more active than their counterparts who have standing desks, treadmills, or stationary bikes at their disposal.
The PPDs provided by researchers helped workers lose weight, concentrate better, and even resulted in fewer sick days in those who pedaled more vs. those who pedaled less.
Like all good things, there is a catch, though: the PPDs are only effective if one is provided to each employee, rather than having a shared device.
When employees are given standing desks, treadmills, or stationary bikes to share with others in the office, participation goes down and so do the related benefits. Privacy, convenience, and the ability to easily multitask seem to be priorities for those who use the PPDs.
Sedentary Jobs on the Rise (Along With Health Problems)
Why should your workplace invest in PPDs? Well, for one thing, employees who are sedentary all day — yep, even those who are active outside of work — have an increased chance of developing major health problems including mental health issues, decreased cognitive function, and chronic diseases.
Since 1950, the number of sedentary jobs has risen 83%, making up 43% of all US jobs. According to the World Health organization (WHO), 3.3 million people die every year due to physical inactivity. That puts it as the 4th leading mortality cause.
The Key to Employee Engagement: Ease
Overall, the researcher behind the Iowa study, Lucas Carr, says that this and his previous research supports the notion that the best way to make employees active is by changing the workplace environment to make it easier to do so.
According to his research, constructing expensive fitness centers doesn’t usually pay off, as the healthier employees are more likely to use those facilities.
If you’re ready to take your workplace wellness program to the next level, contact your local Test Smartly Labs and get started today!