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Ronald Howard Cox, Jared Guth, Leah Siekemeyer, Brianna Kellems, Susan Baker Brehm, and Christina M. Ohlinger

Background:

The effect of active workstation implementation on speech quality in a typical work setting remains unclear.

Purpose:

To assess differences between sitting, standing, and walking on energy expenditure and speech quality.

Methods:

Twenty-two females and 9 males read silently, read aloud, and spoke spontaneously during 3 postural conditions: sitting, standing, and walking at 1.61 km/h. Oxygen consumption (VO2), blood pressure, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were obtained during each condition. Expert listeners, blinded to the purpose of the study and the protocol, assessed randomized samples of the participants’ speech during reading and spontaneous speech tasks in 3 postural conditions.

Results:

Standing elevated metabolic rate significantly over sitting (3.3 ± 0.7 vs. 3.6 ± 0.9 ml·kg−1·min−1). Walking at 1.6 km/h while performing the respective tasks resulted in VO2 values of 7.0 to 8.1 ml·kg−1·min−1. There was no significant difference in the average number of syllables included in each speech sample across the conditions. The occurrence of ungrammatical pauses was minimal and did not differ across the conditions.

Conclusion:

The significant elevation of metabolic rate in the absence of any deterioration in speech quality or RPE support the utility of using active work stations to increase physical activity (PA) in the work environment.

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Christina M. Ohlinger, Thelma S. Horn, William P. Berg, and Ronald Howard Cox

Background:

The purpose of this study was to assess participants’ ability to perform tasks requiring attention, short term memory, and simple motor skill while sitting, standing or walking at an active workstation.

Methods:

Fifty participants completed the Stroop Color Word test (SCWT), Auditory Consonant Trigram test (ACTT), and Digital Finger Tapping test (DFTT) while sitting, standing and walking 1.6 km/h at an active workstation.

Results:

A significant difference was found for DFTT, but no differences across conditions were found on ACTT or SCWT. Examination of the linear contrasts and post hoc means comparison tests revealed significant differences in DFTT scores between sitting and walking (t = 2.39 (49) P < .02) and standing and walking (t = 2.28 (49) P < .03). These results indicate that adding the walking task to the ACTT and SCWT conditions results in no decrement in performance on these tasks. Conversely, adding the walking task to the DFTT condition results in reduced performance on the DFTT task.

Conclusions:

These results further support the potential of active workstations to increase physical activity in the workplace without compromising cognitive capabilities.