Effect of a novel workstation device on promoting non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)

Work. 2017;58(4):447-454. doi: 10.3233/WOR-172640.


Background: Strategies to increase non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) through promotion of movement and energy expenditure at desk stations are needed to help overcome ill effects of prolonged sitting.

Objective: Examine the metabolic rate during three stages of a workstation: sitting, standing, and use of a device (HOVR®) that promotes leg movement while seated.

Methods: Participants (n = 16; mean ±standard deviation: age 26.1±6.0 years; BMI 24.7±4.3 kg/m2) were tested for VO2 and VCO2 for 15 min at each stage in this order: sitting only, sitting using the HOVR, and standing. Participants performed the same desk work to keep fine-motor activity consistent for the stages. Data collected during the final 5 min of a stage were averaged and analyzed as steady-state data. To evaluate the effect of each stage on cognitive function, the Stroop word-color test was administered after metabolic assessment as the stage continued. One-way ANOVA with repeated measures was used to compare stages for VO2 (L/min), metabolic equivalents (METs), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and heart rate (p < 0.05).

Results: The ANOVA revealed significant differences between the mean values for each stage for each dependent variable (p < 0.05). Post hoc tests indicated VO2 differed for each stage (mean±SD in mL/kg/min: sitting, 4.13±0.56; sitting with HOVR, 4.82±0.74; standing, 4.50±0.53; p < 0.05). METs followed a similar pattern (sitting, 1.19±0.16; sitting with HOVR, 1.39±0.20; standing, 1.29±0.16; p < 0.05). An increase in Stroop Test scores was found as the stages progressed (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Modest movement while seated, i.e., use of HOVR, elevated metabolic rate by 17.6% compared to sitting and by 7% compared to standing and might be a reasonable strategy to help elevate NEAT during the workday.

Keywords: METS; Very low-intensity activity; sedentary; sitting.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Carbon Dioxide / analysis
  • Carbon Dioxide / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Thermogenesis / physiology*
  • Workplace / standards*
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data


  • Carbon Dioxide