Effect of Using a Treadmill Workstation on Performance of Simulated Office Work Tasks

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Although using a treadmill workstation may change the sedentary nature of desk jobs, it is unknown if walking while working affects performance on office-work related tasks.

Purpose:

To assess differences between seated and walking conditions on motor skills and cognitive function tests.

Methods:

Eleven males (24.6 ± 3.5 y) and 9 females (27.0 ± 3.9 y) completed a test battery to assess selective attention and processing speed, typing speed, mouse clicking/drag-and-drop speed, and GRE math and reading comprehension. Testing was performed under seated and walking conditions on 2 separate days using a counterbalanced, within subjects design. Participants did not have an acclimation period before the walking condition.

Results:

Paired t tests (P < .05) revealed that in the seated condition, completion times were shorter for mouse clicking (26.6 ± 3.0 vs. 28.2 ± 2.5s) and drag-and-drop (40.3 ± 4.2 vs. 43.9 ± 2.5s) tests, typing speed was greater (40.2 ± 9.1 vs. 36.9 ± 10.2 adjusted words · min−1), and math scores were better (71.4 ± 15.2 vs. 64.3 ± 13.4%). There were no significant differences between conditions in selective attention and processing speed or in reading comprehension.

Conclusion:

Compared with the seated condition, treadmill walking caused a 6% to 11% decrease in measures of fine motor skills and math problem solving, but did not affect selective attention and processing speed or reading comprehension.

The authors are with the Dept of Exercise, Sport, and Leisure Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxille.