Heroes

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.

Check out these under-the-desk bike pedals, the newest tactic for surviving office life.

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.


This is me. Well, not it's not. But it's definitely how I feel at 3 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon. Photo via Thinkstock.

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.

Fitbits have become a popular way to track your movement throughout the day. Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images.

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.

This was the pedal set up used for Carr's study. Although there are many types of desk pedals, Carr used pedal sets from activeLife Trainer. Photo by University of Iowa Department of Health and Human Physiology, used with permission.

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?

Excuse me while I immediately purchase a set of pedals for my own desk. Photo by activeLife Trainer via University of Iowa.

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!

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This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

Watch the full story:

Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

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A 2015 survey conducted by the National Union of Students found that 60% of respondents turned to porn to fill in the gaps in sex education. While 40% of those people said they learned a little, 75% of respondents said they felt porn created unrealistic expectations when it comes to sex. Some of the unrealistic expectations from porn can be dangerous. A study found that 88% of porn contained violence, and another study found that those who consumed porn were more likely to become sexually aggressive.

But now the thing that breaks those unrealistic expectations… might also be porn? Pornhub has launched a sex education section.

The adult website's first series is simply titled, "Pornhub Sex Ed" and contains 11 videos and is accessible through the Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center. The section also contains articles, some showing real anatomy and examples in order to bust myths people may have picked up on other portions of the website.

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

There are creative, romantic proposals, and then there's this one.

Lee Loechler recently proposed to his girlfriend, Sthuthi David, by taking her to a packed theater to see her favorite movie, Sleeping Beauty. Little did she know that Loechler had spent six months altering the animation of the film's most iconic scene, changing the characters to look like the couple themselves and altering the storyline to set up his Big Question. And that's only the beginning.

Watching David's face during the scene change is sheer delight, as her confused look proves that she has no clue what is about to happen. The set-up is great, but the magical moment when Loechler's illustrated self tosses the engagement ring to his real-life self? That's when we all toss up our hands and say, "OKAY, man. You win at proposing. Everyone else must bow before you now."

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While many of us have understandably let the challenges of 2020 get under our skin and bring us down, a young man from Florida was securing his place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Chris Nikic became the first person with Down syndrome to complete a full triathlon.

For the majority of people, a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride or a 26.2 mile run would be difficult on its own. The Ironman competition requires participants to complete them all in one grueling race. In a statement, Special Olympics Florida President and CEO Sherry Wheelock called Chris "an inspiration to all of us." She continued, "We are incredibly proud of Chris and the work he has put in to achieve this monumental goal. He's become a hero to athletes, fans, and people across Florida and around the world."

Nikic's journey to become an Ironman started off as a challenge far less lofty. He and his father, Nik, created the "1 percent better challenge." The idea was to keep Chris motivated during the pandemic and beyond. According to The Washington Post, the idea was for Chris to improve his workouts by one percent each day because he "doesn't like pain" but loves "food, videos games and my couch." The plan was to keep building strength and stamina while keeping his eye on the grand prize of completing a triathlon. Nik told the Panama City News Herald, "I was concerned because after high school and after graduation a lot of kids with Down syndrome become isolated and just start living a life of isolation. I said, 'Look, let's go find him something to get him back into the world and get him involved,' so we started looking around and we were fortunate that at the same time Special Olympics Florida started this triathlon program, and I thought, 'What a great way to get him started, get him in shape and get him to make some friends.'"


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