Purpose Under-desk pedaling devices could help reduce health risks associated with the global decline in work-related energy expenditure. However, the optimal pedaling work rate to facilitate concurrent work performance among physically inactive adults is unclear. We examined the effects of two light-intensity pedaling work rates on physically inactive adults' work performance. Methods We recruited equal numbers of older (45-65 yr) versus younger (20-44 yr), male versus female, and overweight/obese (body mass index [BMI], 25-35 kg·m-2) versus normal weight (BMI, 18.5-24.9 kg·m-2) participants. Using a Graeco-Latin square design, participants (n = 96) completed a laboratory experiment to evaluate the effects of using an under-desk pedaling device at two seated light-intensity work rates (17 and 25 W), relative to a seated nonpedaling condition on objectively measured typing, reading, logical reasoning, and phone task performance. Ergonomic comfort under each pedaling work rate was also assessed. Equivalence tests were used to compare work performance under the pedaling versus nonpedaling conditions. Results Treatment fidelity to the 17- and 25-W pedaling work rates exceeded 95%. Mean work performance scores for each pedaling and nonpedaling condition were equivalent under alpha = 0.025. Age, sex, and BMI did not significantly moderate the effect of pedaling on work performance. Participants reported greater ergonomic comfort while completing work tasks at the 17-W relative to the 25-W work rate. Conclusions Physically inactive adults obtained similar work performance scores under the 17- and 25-W pedaling and the nonpedaling conditions, suggesting that either pedaling work rate could help reduce health risks of sedentary work time. The 17-W work rate yielded greater ergonomic comfort and may be an appropriate starting point for introducing diverse inactive workers to under-desk pedaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-31
Number of pages12
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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