Effect of using a treadmill workstation on performance of simulated office work tasks

J Phys Act Health. 2009 Sep;6(5):617-24. doi: 10.1123/jpah.6.5.617.


Although using a treadmill workstation may change the sedentary nature of desk jobs, it is unknown if walking while working affects performance on office-work related tasks.

Purpose: To assess differences between seated and walking conditions on motor skills and cognitive function tests.

Methods: Eleven males (24.6 +/- 3.5 y) and 9 females (27.0 +/- 3.9 y) completed a test battery to assess selective attention and processing speed, typing speed, mouse clicking/drag-and-drop speed, and GRE math and reading comprehension. Testing was performed under seated and walking conditions on 2 separate days using a counterbalanced, within subjects design. Participants did not have an acclimation period before the walking condition.

Results: Paired t tests (P < .05) revealed that in the seated condition, completion times were shorter for mouse clicking (26.6 +/- 3.0 vs. 28.2 +/- 2.5s) and drag-and-drop (40.3 +/- 4.2 vs. 43.9 +/- 2.5s) tests, typing speed was greater (40.2 +/- 9.1 vs. 36.9 +/- 10.2 adjusted words x min(-1)), and math scores were better (71.4 +/- 15.2 vs. 64.3 +/- 13.4%). There were no significant differences between conditions in selective attention and processing speed or in reading comprehension.

Conclusion: Compared with the seated condition, treadmill walking caused a 6% to 11% decrease in measures of fine motor skills and math problem solving, but did not affect selective attention and processing speed or reading comprehension.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microcomputers*
  • Motor Skills*
  • Walking*
  • Workplace*