The Benefits of Pedal Desks

A new study looked at the effects of pedaling while working

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Summary: Pedal desks have become the latest gadget aimed at making office life more strenuous. Lynne Kenney, a pediatric psychologist in Scottsdale, Az., says her pedal desk lets her get in a workout while getting her work done. She says the exercise keeps her alert and helps her avoid that three o’clock slump that many office workers face after lunch. She shared that she has no problem paying attention while using a pedal desk and writing, and it’s much easier to stay focused while pedaling than when she’s standing. A study found that pedaling under a desk has major health benefits, including preventing obesity, diabetes and heart disease through insulin resistance. The University of Massachusetts Amherst study said workers’ competency was not affected when pedaling, and researchers were able to analyze participants’ mouse proficiency, typing speed and accuracy, reading comprehension and concentration. Comparatively, standing desks and treadmill desks are not as beneficial because people run the risk of standing for too long, whereas with pedaling desks, people can go at their own pace. Pedal desks can cost anywhere from $50 to $400, depending on the technology and size. Some look like a stationary exercise bike with a laptop stuck on top of it, while others are simply a pair of pedals that sit discreetly under someone’s desk or table. For some, the desk pedaling also helps with mental clarity. “The biggest thing I’ve gotten out of it is the ability to focus better and be engaged in my writing and my reading,” Kenney told MarketWatch.

Analysis: This article introduces an innovative solution that bridges the gap between working productively and getting exercise. I think it would be interesting to further research how implementing these types of elements into a community work would promote exercise and productivity in alignment with ethical design planning. This poses an interesting design challenge that I would like to explore with the goal of improving the lifestyles of people in downtown Dayton. Lastly, the benefits of this type of design seem very obvious, and I would like to gain a better understanding of how I can tailor current findings to serve the interests of my target audience.