Cycling on a Bike Desk Positively Influences Cognitive Performance

PLoS One. 2016 Nov 2;11(11):e0165510. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0165510. eCollection 2016.


Purpose: Cycling desks as a means to reduce sedentary time in the office has gained interest as excessive sitting has been associated with several health risks. However, the question rises if people will still be as efficient in performing their desk-based office work when combining this with stationary cycling. Therefore, the effect of cycling at 30% Wmax on typing, cognitive performance and brain activity was investigated.

Methods: After two familiarisation sessions, 23 participants performed a test battery [typing test, Rey auditory verbal learning test (RAVLT), Stroop test and Rosvold continuous performance test (RCPT)] with electroencephalography recording while cycling and sitting on a conventional chair.

Results: Typing performance, performance on the RAVLT and accuracy on the Stroop test and the RCPT did not differ between conditions. Reaction times on the Stroop test and the RCPT were shorter while cycling relative to sitting (p < 0.05). N200, P300, N450 and conflict SP latency and amplitude on the Stroop test and N200 and P300 on the RCPT did not differ between conditions.

Conclusions: This study showed that typing performance and short-term memory are not deteriorated when people cycle at 30% Wmax. Furthermore, cycling had a positive effect on response speed across tasks requiring variable amounts of attention and inhibition.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Reaction Time
  • Stroop Test
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Workplace

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this work.