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.


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!

Heroes

Mom and blogger Mary Katherine Backstrom regularly shares snippets of life with her two children on her Facebook page. One particularly touching interaction with her daughter is melting hearts and blowing minds due to the three-year-old's wise words about forgiveness.

Even adults struggle with the concept of forgiveness. Entire books have been written about how and why to forgive those who have wronged us, but many still have a hard time getting it. Who would guess that a preschooler could encapsulate what forgiveness means in a handful of innocent words?

Keep Reading Show less
Family

California has a housing crisis. Rent is so astronomical, one San Francisco company is offering bunk bedsfor $1,200 a month; Google even pledged$1 billion to help tackle the issue in the Bay Area. But the person who might fix it for good? Kanye West.

The music mogul first announced his plan to build low-income housing on Twitter late last year.

"We're starting a Yeezy architecture arm called Yeezy home. We're looking for architects and industrial designers who want to make the world better," West tweeted.

Keep Reading Show less
Cities

The U.S. women's soccer team won the Women's World Cup, but the victory is marred by the fact that the team is currently fighting for equal pay. In soccer, the game is won by scoring points, but the fight for equal pay isn't as clearly winnable and the playing field isn't as even.

We live in a world where winning the World Cup is easier than winning equal pay, but co-captain Megan Rapinoe says there's one easy way fans can support the team: Go see games.

Some people argue the men's team deserves to get paid more because they are more successful and earn more money for the United States Soccer Federation. Pay depends on merchandise and ticket sales, and in general, men's sporting events tend to draw a bigger crowd than women's sporting events. It's not about sex, many argue; it's about the fact that people just prefer to see men play.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

You think you know someone pretty well when you spend years with them, but, as we've seen time and again, that's not always the case. And though many relationships don't get to a point where the producers of "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?" start calling every day just to chat, the reality is that sometimes partners will reveal shocking things even after you thought you'd been all shocked out.

That's the case for one woman whose Reddit thread has recently gone viral. The 25-year-old, who's been with her boyfriend for five years, took to a forum for relationship advice to ask if it was normal that her seemingly cool and loving boyfriend recently revealed women shouldn't have a fundamental right. (And no, it's not abortion — although there are a lot of "otherwise best ever boyfriends" out there who want to deny women the rights to bodily autonomy, too.)

Keep Reading Show less
Recommended