Can a 'bike desk' make you healthier?

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Walk into Lori Bond's office inside the LSU Geology Department, and it won't take you long to notice something unique. Behind two large monitors, hides Bond's bicycle desk. Every day, as she works and types, she bikes.

"The first day I did like 10 miles in nothing flat," said Bond.

The bicycle desk was provided by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center as part of a new study. Researchers want to find out if you can improve your health and decrease your risk for things like high blood pressure and diabetes by using an active work station, instead of staying seated and still all day.

"If we sit for about two hours at work every day, that increases our risk for diabetes and obesity by about six or seven percent," explained Pennington professor and researcher, Dr. Corby Martin.

Martin says that time sitting still can add up quickly.

For the study, Pennington partnered up with several businesses around town that were willing to try out the bike desk in the workplace and workers were given a chance to volunteer. Participants were given a desk bike, designed at Pennington, to use for 13 weeks. During that time, researchers monitor each participants' progress through a software program. The volunteers also received weekly checkups and health intervention advice. Participants were also required to meet a step goal every week.

Martin says in addition to proving the health benefits of moving, the long-term goal of this study is to completely disrupt the office space. Martin hopes that one day, active work spaces involving things like the bike desk will be the norm instead of the experiment.

"Usually one of the excuses we use is we have too much work to do," said Martin. "This allows you to be as active as you like while you're working and your productivity won't decrease."

Bond says she can vouch for the productivity. While she had some curious coworkers at first, she says the peddling has not affected her work. However, she says it has helped her health. "I just feel better, and that's a good thing," said Bond.

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