Will employees want to walk at work?

A treadmill work station helps employees in sedentary jobs. Randall Paull

WINNIPEG — A Manitoba  study is putting office workers on treadmills.

A University of Manitoba researcher is working on ways to keep normally sedentary office workers more healthy.

Danielle Bouchard installed four treadmills at a provincial health call centre at Winnipeg’s Misericordia Health Centre. The treadmills are equipped with work stations, and the 22 employees took turns using the treadmills for two to four hours during their shifts.

This kind of arrangement would allow employers to offer less-sedentary working conditions to their employees, without the enormous expense of installing a treadmill at every single work station, Bouchard said.

“Over the last decades, a shift towards the service industry has meant that jobs requiring physical activity in the workplace have reduced from 50 per cent to 20 per cent,” she said in a news release. “Today, it’s been proven that it is important to reduce sitting time at work, even if you exercise regularly.”

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During the study, Bouchard monitored the workers’ usage patterns, blood pressure, heart rate, diet, sleep patterns, job satisfaction and productivity.

“I expect that sharing treadmill workstations will help reduce sedentary behaviour in the workplace, increase employees’ health and job satisfaction and maintain or increase productivity,” Bouchard said.

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