Workout at work: laboratory test of psychological and performance outcomes of active workstations

J Occup Health Psychol. 2015 Apr;20(2):259-71. doi: 10.1037/a0038175. Epub 2014 Oct 27.


With growing concerns over the obesity epidemic in the United States and other developed countries, many organizations have taken steps to incorporate healthy workplace practices. However, most workers are still sedentary throughout the day--a major contributor to individual weight gain. The current study sought to gather preliminary evidence of the efficacy of active workstations, which are a possible intervention that could increase employees' physical activity while they are working. We conducted an experimental study, in which boredom, task satisfaction, stress, arousal, and performance were evaluated and compared across 4 randomly assigned conditions: seated workstation, standing workstation, cycling workstation, and walking workstation. Additionally, body mass index (BMI) and exercise habits were examined as moderators to determine whether differences in these variables would relate to increased benefits in active conditions. The results (n = 180) showed general support for the benefits of walking workstations, whereby participants in the walking condition had higher satisfaction and arousal and experienced less boredom and stress than those in the passive conditions. Cycling workstations, on the other hand, tended to relate to reduced satisfaction and performance when compared with other conditions. The moderators did not impact these relationships, indicating that walking workstations might have psychological benefits to individuals, regardless of BMI and exercise habits. The results of this study are a preliminary step in understanding the work implications of active workstations.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Arousal
  • Body Mass Index
  • Boredom
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Motor Activity*
  • Occupational Health
  • Posture
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Walking
  • Workplace*
  • Young Adult