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Pedal while you work

Portable pedal machines could be used in every office to improve the health of workers, according to scientists in the US.

For those with sedentary jobs, these portable pedal machines may be a useful tool in the fight against obesity, according to a small study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The researchers asked 18 volunteers, most of them overweight, to try a specially designed pedal exercise machine at their desks for four weeks.

The volunteers used their computers to monitor their activity and get real-time feedback on pedal speed, distance covered and how many calories they burned.

At the end of the four weeks, the volunteers overwhelmingly said they’d use a machine if they could, that it didn’t affect their productivity or work quality and that they found it was easy to use.

However, the researchers reported that the novelty factor of having an exercise bike did wear off so additional motivation would be needed to keep employees using them.

Just 23 minutes of pedalling could boost health if done regularly, the authors say.

Would it be mischievous to suggest that people in sedentary occupations could alternatively go for a 23-minute jog or brisk walk straight past the sandwich shop at lunchtime and achieve precisely the same benefits?

Source: British Journal of Sports Medicine

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