Check out these under-the-desk bike pedals, the newest tactic for surviving office life.
If you're slowly becoming one with your desk chair, you may want to try this wacky idea.
After a long day of staring at screens, my eyes get twitchy and I find it difficult to concentrate. If you sit at a desk all day, you probably know that feeling all too well.
Research confirms that sitting all day isn't good for us.
Sedentary behavior can lead to a higher risk for diabetes and obesity. Yikes. Lots of sitting is even linked to mental health problems and heightened anxiety.
A little bit of movement during the day can help, but according to the BBC, we're not getting up very much at work. In fact, a 2015 survey from the British Heart Foundation found that roughly 50% of women and 40% of men spend less than a half hour per day walking around when at work.
But there are some sweet, science-backed solutions to this problem.
You can buy an ever-trendy Fitbit. You could get a standing desk. You could bounce through the day on a yoga ball rather than sitting in your chair.
But my favorite new solution? Under-the-desk bike pedals.
In a new study, bike pedals were distributed to people who sat at desks all day.
The pedals were installed under employees' desks. Then Lucas Carr, a scientist and professor at the University of Iowa, tracked every employee's pedal time for 16 weeks.
As part of the study, these employees also received emails each week that reminded them to stand up, alter their posture, and stay active.
It turns out that these pedals have a lot of benefits.
Carr told Medical News Today that the employees who pedaled the most experienced improvements in physical health, fewer sick days, and better concentration.
Carr also told Medical News Today that most of the employees asked to keep the pedals after the study because they loved them so much. Plus, the study demonstrated significant benefits for employees even when they only used the pedals for less than an hour per day.
Plus, it's really easy to incentivize pedaling at the office.
Imagine a coffee pot that turns on only when you start pedaling. (OK, maybe that's a bit cruel.) Or a printer that operates with the power of your leg muscles. Or office-wide pedaling competitions. (Races during the 3 p.m. slump? Leader boards?
Most companies provide their employees with gym memberships or other traditional incentives for movement.
That's great, too. But Carr notes that exercise facilities in the office often don't work for the majority of people long term.
"[These pedals are] something that could be provided to just about any employee, regardless of the size of their company or office," he told Iowa Now. "It's right at their feet, and they can use it whenever they want without feeling self-conscious in front of their co-workers."
That's why these bike pedals, which provide an easy way to get moving, are so effective. Sign me up!