Washington: You may want to increase your movement at work as a recent study has found a positive link between mood, motivation and physical activity during work and study.
Researcher June J. Pilcher studied the cognitive effects of physical activity workstations and traditional desks on Clemson student volunteers. The results of the study suggest the inclusion of light physical activity during work or study has positive effects without detracting from work or study effectiveness.
According to Pilcher, working in sedentary environments might not be harmful in the short term, but this type of behavior is related to long-term chronic disease and physical frailty.
"We hurt ourselves by working in conditions that encourage sedentary activity," Pilcher said, "but incorporating physical activity in a practical way in the workplace may actually improve physical and mental health without detracting from our ability to work or study effectively."
Pilcher first looked into treadmill workstations, but their cost, size and physical demands on the user detracted from their practical use in research or use in an office, school setting or home. She instead settled on the FitDesk Bike, an ergonomic, stationary bike and laptop workstation used in business and higher education.
The study compared the performance of 38 students working at traditional desks and the FitDesks. Participants completed a logical reasoning task and a pattern recognition task and then completed surveys at each desk condition.
Pilcher was happy to find that complex cognitive performance was similar and stable when using the FitDesk and the traditional desk. This suggests no drawback to the use of light physical movement while at work or study. In addition, the study found that positive effect, motivation and morale increased when using the FitDesk, but not the traditional desk.
"Those findings were particularly striking to me," Pilcher said. "Improving positive effect could mean improved problem-solving, decision-making, responsibility and creativity, all important implications for the workplace."
The study is published in Frontiers in Psychology....