Metabolic cost and speech quality while using an active workstation

J Phys Act Health. 2011 Mar;8(3):332-9. doi: 10.1123/jpah.8.3.332.


Background: The effect of active workstation implementation on speech quality in a typical work setting remains unclear.

Purpose: To assess differences between sitting, standing, and walking on energy expenditure and speech quality.

Methods: Twenty-two females and 9 males read silently, read aloud, and spoke spontaneously during 3 postural conditions: sitting, standing, and walking at 1.61 km/h. Oxygen consumption (VO2), blood pressure, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were obtained during each condition. Expert listeners, blinded to the purpose of the study and the protocol, assessed randomized samples of the participants' speech during reading and spontaneous speech tasks in 3 postural conditions.

Results: Standing elevated metabolic rate significantly over sitting (3.3 ± 0.7 vs. 3.6 ± 0.9 ml·kg-1·min-1). Walking at 1.6 km/h while performing the respective tasks resulted in VO2 values of 7.0 to 8.1 ml·kg-1·min-1. There was no significant difference in the average number of syllables included in each speech sample across the conditions. The occurrence of ungrammatical pauses was minimal and did not differ across the conditions.

Conclusion: The significant elevation of metabolic rate in the absence of any deterioration in speech quality or RPE support the utility of using active work stations to increase physical activity (PA) in the work environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Health
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Speech / physiology*
  • Workplace*