Objective: Our hypothesis was that an office-place stepping device is associated with significant and substantial increases in energy expenditure compared to sitting energy expenditure. Our objective was to assess the effect of using an office-place stepping device on the energy expenditure of lean and obese office workers.
Methods: The office-place stepping device is an inexpensive, near-silent, low-impact device that can be housed under a standard desk and plugged into an office PC for self-monitoring. Energy expenditure was measured in lean and obese subjects using the stepping device and during rest, sitting and walking. Nineteen subjects (27 + 9 years, 85 + 23 kg); 9 lean (BMI <25 kg/m2) and 10 obese (BMI >29 kg/m2) attended the Experimental Office Facility. Energy expenditure was measured at rest, seated in an office chair, standing, walking on a treadmill and whilst using the office-place stepping device.
Results: The office-place stepping device was associated with an increase in energy expenditure above sitting in an office chair by, 289 + 102 kcal/hour (P<0.001). The increase in energy expenditure was greater for the obese (335 + 99 kcal/hour) compared to the lean subjects (235 + 80 kcal/hour; P=0.03). The increments in energy expenditure were similar to exercise-style walking.
Conclusion: The office-place stepping device could be an approach for office workers to increase their energy expenditure. If the stepping device was used to replace sitting by two-hours per day and if other components of energy balance were constant, weight loss of 20 kg/year could occur.
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