who use treadmill workstations not only receive physical benefits but also are
more productive at work, according to a recently published study by researchers
from The University of Texas at Arlington, the Mayo Clinic and the University
Darla Hamann, assistant professor in the UT Arlington School of Urban and Public Affairs, published a study on the benefits of treadmill workstations.
Hamann, an assistant professor in the UT Arlington School
of Urban and Public Affairs,
and four colleagues wrote “Treadmill Workstations: The Effects of
Walking while Working on Physical Activity and Work Performance”, which was published by the journal PLoS
One Feb. 20.
the study, sedentary employees from a nonprofit financial service company had
their current cubicles and offices outfitted with treadmill desks. The desks
could be raised and lowered with the push of a button, and the employees could
choose to sit, stand or walk at their discretion. The employees were surveyed for 52 weeks, and
wore an accelerometer that kept track of their daily calories burned.
the employees had the treadmill workstation, they burned an average of 74 more
calories per day than they did before they received the treadmill workstation.
great about that is that employees who had the treadmill workstations became
more productive in addition to becoming more active,” Hamann said. “Walking on
the treadmill didn’t come at the expense of being a productive worker. Walking
seemed to augment productivity.”
worked with Avner Ben-Ner, a professor and economist in the University of
Minnesota’s Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies in the Carlson School
of Management. He also is an affiliated professor in the UM Law School. Chimnay
U. Manohar, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, Gabriel Koepp
and James Levine, who are with the Mayo Clinic, were also part of the team.
Levine is a leading endocrinologist there. Koepp is a research analyst.
team brought together faculty from a public administration program, a business
school and an academic health center, and is an example of the multi-disciplinary
scholarship encouraged by The University of Texas at Arlington.
Pictured is one of the treadmill workstations used in the research.
study surveyed roughly 200 employees per week at a financial services company.
Forty had treadmill desks. The elevated workstations allowed employees to walk
up to 2 miles per hour while working at their computers.
think this paper could lead companies to offer treadmill workstations for their
employees as part of wellness programs nationwide,” Hamann said. “I think it
could eventually become a well-being initiative as part of a cafeteria plan of
benefits for employees.”
Coursey, director of the master’s in Public Administration degree and an
associate professor at UT Arlington, said companies often rely on new computers
and other high-tech tools to improve employees’ performance.
Hamann's research is among the relatively few to remind us of the importance of
employee health in increasing productivity,” Coursey said.
addition, Hamann said the research showed a carryover effect of exercise
becoming a habit for employees choosing to use the treadmill workstation.
like the treadmill workstation served as a reminder for future physical
activity,” Hamann said. “It reinforced the idea to exercise.”
said obesity in the United States and other westernized countries has become an
epidemic leading to heart disease, diabetes and a host of other maladies. A
leading cause of the epidemic is that people are no longer active at work.
thinking was what could a treadmill – even one operating a slow speed – accomplish
in the work environment?” Hamann said.
of the employees spent most of the day on a computer. Most of the employees
were sedentary. Most of the employees using the treadmill workstation were
female. Most were married. And about a third were college educated.
research is just one example of the world-class research that takes place at UT
University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution and
the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The
Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh
fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News &
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