The effect of active workstation use on measures of cognition, attention, and motor skill

J Phys Act Health. 2011 Jan;8(1):119-25. doi: 10.1123/jpah.8.1.119.


Background: The purpose of this study was to assess participants' ability to perform tasks requiring attention, short term memory, and simple motor skill while sitting, standing or walking at an active workstation.

Methods: Fifty participants completed the Stroop Color Word test (SCWT), Auditory Consonant Trigram test (ACTT), and Digital Finger Tapping test (DFTT) while sitting, standing and walking 1.6 km/h at an active workstation.

Results: A significant difference was found for DFTT, but no differences across conditions were found on ACTT or SCWT. Examination of the linear contrasts and post hoc means comparison tests revealed significant differences in DFTT scores between sitting and walking (t = 2.39 (49) P < .02) and standing and walking (t = 2.28 (49) P < .03). These results indicate that adding the walking task to the ACTT and SCWT conditions results in no decrement in performance on these tasks. Conversely, adding the walking task to the DFTT condition results in reduced performance on the DFTT task.

Conclusions: These results further support the potential of active workstations to increase physical activity in the workplace without compromising cognitive capabilities.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cognition*
  • Computer Terminals
  • Educational Status
  • Ergonomics / psychology*
  • Ergonomics / standards
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise / psychology
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills*
  • Postural Balance*
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Work Schedule Tolerance
  • Young Adult