The proposed research will investigate the feasibility of accomplishing simultaneous caloric expenditure and productive office work using a height-adapted elliptical device designed to be pedaled at a standard desk. Strategies for increasing energy expenditure without requiring extra time investment are greatly needed, as most US adults report lack of time for physical activity, and spend over half of their waking hours in sedentary behaviors. These low levels of energy expenditure contribute to an average weight gain of 1 pound per year among US adults-which raises risk for cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and cancer. Pedaling a low-cost elliptical device while simultaneously completing office work could help reverse this trend toward weight gain-without requiring extra time investment to increase physical activity. However, there is a lack of research on the feasibility of accomplishing productive office work while using elliptical/pedaling devices. Evaluating the feasibility of simultaneous pedaling and productive office work is important for determining whether elliptical/pedaling devices should be more widely disseminated across diverse sedentary office settings. Therefore, the primary specific aims of this research are to: (1) assess the feasibility of completing simulated office work activities in lab-based setting while pedaling the elliptical device at different intensity levels among sedentary adults varying on age, gender, and body mass index (Study 1, n = 112);and (2) assess the feasibility of completing sedentary desk work in a field-based (office) setting while pedaling the elliptical device at a self-selected intensity level, as well as social and built environment influences on elliptical device use (Study 2, n = 50). The proposed research builds upon established ecological models demonstrating the importance of proximal environmental influences on physical activity and sedentary behavior. The combination of lab- and field-based research will contribute to the internal and external validity of study findings, and help guide recommendations for integrating elliptical/pedaling devices in sedentary office settings. Even if used only part of the working day, elliptical devices could substantially increase daily caloric expenditure and contribute to reduced risk of obesity and chronic health conditions associated with sedentary lifestyles.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed research will explore the feasibility of accomplishing simultaneous energy expenditure and productive office work while pedaling a desk-compatible elliptical device. Unlike other existing solutions for promoting simultaneous office work and energy expenditure, the desk-compatible elliptical device is low cost, space-efficient, and can be used while seated at a standard-height work desk. Widespread use of low-cost desk-compatible elliptical devices, or other similar pedaling devices, could help prevent further growth of the obesity epidemic and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and some cancers.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Psychosocial Risk and Disease Prevention Study Section (PRDP)
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Pratt, Charlotte
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Pennsylvania State University
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Cho, Jay; Freivalds, Andris; Rovniak, Liza S (2017) Utilizing anthropometric data to improve the usability of desk bikes, and influence of desk bikes on reading and typing performance. Appl Ergon 60:128-135
Rovniak, Liza S; Sciamanna, Christopher N; George, Daniel R et al. (2016) Interest in Using Workplace Energy Expenditure Devices Among Primary Care Patients. J Prim Care Community Health 7:96-101