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Health and productivity at work: which active workstation for which benefits: a systematic review

Abstract

In order to reduce sedentary behaviour at work, research has examined the effectiveness of active workstations. However, despite their relevance in replacing conventional desks, the comparison between types of active workstations and their respective benefits remains unclear. The purpose of this review article is thus to compare the benefits between standing, treadmill and cycling workstations. Search criteria explored Embase, PubMed and Web of Science databases. The review included studies concerning adults using at least two types of active workstations, evaluating biomechanical, physiological work performance and/or psychobiological outcomes. Twelve original articles were included. Treadmill workstations induced greater movement/activity and greater muscular activity in the upper limbs compared with standing workstations. Treadmill and cycling workstations resulted in elevated heart rate, decreased ambulatory blood pressure and increased energy expenditure during the workday compared with standing workstations. Treadmill workstations reduced fine motor skill function (ie, typing, mouse pointing and combined keyboard/mouse tasks) compared with cycling and standing workstations. Cycling workstations resulted in improved simple processing task speeds compared with standing and treadmill workstations. Treadmill and cycling workstations increased arousal and decreased boredom compared with standing workstations. The benefits associated with each type of active workstation (eg, standing, treadmill, cycling) may not be equivalent. Overall, cycling and treadmill workstations appear to provide greater short-term physiological changes than standing workstations that could potentially lead to better health. Cycling, treadmill and standing workstations appear to show short-term productivity benefits; however, treadmill workstations can reduce the performance of computer tasks.

  • occupational
  • sedentary behaviour
  • active workstation
  • physical activity
  • workplace

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