Mini Analysis: The delayed effect of treadmill desk usage on recall and attention

I found this this research article and thought I’d share. The researchers were basically testing the ability of people to recall information they were reading while on a treadmill desk vs sitting. (I’d be interested in seeing how it compares with standing too, but oh well.) This study was looking at attention and memory tasks in particular. They found that these recall tasks were done better by people who used a treadmill desk. This type of information is interesting, since that may mean you may be able to learn a language better (memory task) or do something boring (attention task) better while using a treadmill desk. How much better?

Recall Figure

Something like 34.9% higher for recall and “significantly higher” for attention tasks. Anyways, I don’t feel like trying to back calculate a percentage right now, but suffice it to say, they found it to be a significant improvement.

Other websites (Like Co.EXIST) have been reporting titles on this research paper like “Treadmill Desks Aren’t Just Healthier, They’ll Also Boost Your Work Performance” Their sensationalist approach to reporting basically glosses over a very important point that even the article they are referencing mentions. Basically other types of tasks studied by different researchers suggest that using a treadmill may actually be worse for your particular task. WORSE. The article mentions that walking had either neutral or deleterious effects on cognitive and work abilities. Their conclusion is that each task should be studied independently and that more studies are needed to see if high level thinking tasks are affected positively or negatively. Stay skeptical, but take the information for what it is. For example, if memory tasks do indeed improve while walking, then why not use a treadmill desk while learning a new instrument, memorizing a piano song, learning a new language, etc…?  Something to think about.





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