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Walking While Working Good for Your (Mental) Health

Walking While Working Good for Your (Mental) Health
Credit: Nivens/Shutterstock

Rather than just walking to work, employees looking to improve health may be best served by walking at work, new research suggests.

Employees who use a walking workstation, which combines an employee's desk with a treadmill, during the day have the potential to not only boost their physical health, but their mental health as well, according to a study conducted by faculty and student researchers from the department of psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

"We found that the walking workstations, regardless of a person's exercise habits or body mass index (BMI), had significant benefits," Michael Sliter, one of the study's authors and an assistant professor of psychology at IUPUI, said in a statement. "Even if you don't exercise or if you are overweight, you'll experience both short-term physical and psychological benefits."

Researchers evaluated 180 participants on boredom, task satisfaction, stress, arousal [a person who is highly psychologically aroused will be more engaged in their environment], and in the work that they are doing.] and performance while completing work-related computer tasks in of four randomly assigned workstations. The workstations had the participants seated, standing, walking or cycling.

The researchers discovered that participants using the walking workstations had higher satisfaction and experienced less boredom and stress than the standing and sitting workstation participants. [Desk Job? 7 Ways to Keep Healthy at Work ]

However, they also found that not all exercise-type workstations have the same effect, as those using the cycling workstations had reduced satisfaction and performance.

With growing concerns regarding obesity in the United States, Sliter, who wrote the research from a walking workstation, hopes the study encourages employers to examine methods to assist workers in healthy living.

The study appears online in the American Psychological Association's Journal of Occupational Health Psychology and in the January 2015 print edition.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.

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