Small elliptical exercise device may promote activity while sitting

January 21, 2014 by A'ndrea Elyse Messer, Pennsylvania State University

(Medical Xpress)—People may be able to keep the weight off by using a compact elliptical device while sitting at a desk or watching TV, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

"Adults in the United States spend more than 11 hours per day sitting while doing things like watching television and working on a computer," said Liza Rovniak, assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences. "Evidence suggests that this sedentary lifestyle has contributed to average weight gains of one to two pounds per year among U.S. adults over the last 20 years."

While moderate and are usually emphasized in exercise programs, low-intensity physical activity may also help with weight control. Combining low-intensity physical activity with things like watching television could also help eliminate the time barrier that prevents .

The researchers looked at using a compact elliptical device to increase while sitting. They chose this device because it is lower in cost than other options like treadmill desks, is quiet and requires only a small floor area.

Scientists selected 32 participants who used the elliptical device while sitting in a standard office chair. The researchers monitored their energy use, heart rate and other biometrics. They were also asked how much interest they had in using the device while watching television, using a computer, reading, in a meeting and in general.

The results suggest a majority—86 percent—of participants could expend enough energy in one hour a day to prevent weight gain. The other 14 percent would have had the same result if they increased the pace of pedaling slightly.

"Assuming participants held other components of energy balance constant, daily use of the elliptical device for one hour might result in a weight loss of 5.2 pounds per year and help prevent the one-to-two pound annual among U.S. adults," Rovniak said.

Participants also reported a high interest in using an elliptical device while watching television and using a computer, but not while in office meetings.

"Since and using a computer are among the most common reasons people sit, the compact elliptical device might hold potential as a way to increase people's daily caloric expenditure," Rovniak said.

Because of its compact design, it can be placed in areas that are close to where a person sits, giving visual prompts to use the device.

The researchers still need to study whether compact elliptical devices can sustain increases in the amount of energy expended over longer periods of time and whether the devices improve health.

"By continuing to explore how best to use elliptical devices and other energy expenditure strategies across diverse settings, it may ultimately be possible to reach enough people to alter rates of chronic diseases associated with inactive lifestyles," Rovniak said.

Other researchers on this project were LeAnn Denlinger, Ellen Duveneck and Christopher Sciamanna, Department of Medicine, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center; Lan Kong, Department of Public Health Sciences; Andris Freivalds, Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, Penn State; and Chester A. Ray, Department of Medicine, Penn State College of Medicine. This research appeared in Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

Explore further: Researchers create tool for studying social networks and health

Related Stories

Researchers create tool for studying social networks and health

December 19, 2013
A team led by Penn State College of Medicine researchers has developed a tool to help scientists study the influence of social networks on health. The team integrated—for the first time—scientific articles on both social ...

Hammacher Schlemmer releases $8000 Elliptical Machine Office Desk set

June 28, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- It is no surprise that an exercise regimen of sitting at your desk and typing is not one that will help you to shed those pounds. At least not if you only have a standard office chair to sit on. Sure, ...

Pedometer program helps motivate participants to sit less, move more

May 30, 2013
Indiana University researchers found that a simple program that uses pedometers to monitor how much people move throughout the day was effective at increasing physical activity, decreasing sitting time, a particular problem ...

US mothers from 1965 to 2010: More TV, less housework

December 2, 2013
New research from the University of South Carolina's Arnold School of Public Health shows that mothers in the U.S. are far less physically active than they were in previous decades and now spend more time engaged in sedentary ...

Time spent watching television is not associated with death among breast cancer survivors

January 31, 2013
Spending a lot of time watching television after breast cancer diagnosis is not linked to death in these breast cancer survivors. It appears that after accounting for self-reported physical activity levels after diagnosis, ...

Walking in place during commercials offers a good calorie burn

January 24, 2012
Fitness experts are always telling us that incorporating movement into our day is a good way to burn calories. But is it effective? A study finds that walking in place during commercials while watching TV actually provides ...

Recommended for you

Exposure to low levels of BPA during pregnancy can lead to altered brain development

March 17, 2018
New research in mice provides an explanation for how exposure to the widely used chemical bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy, even at levels lower than the regulated "safe" human exposure level, can lead to altered brain ...

The coffee cannabis connection

March 15, 2018
It's well known that a morning cup of joe jolts you awake. But scientists have discovered coffee affects your metabolism in dozens of other ways, including your metabolism of steroids and the neurotransmitters typically linked ...

Smoking linked with higher risk of type 2 diabetes

March 15, 2018
The prevalence of diabetes has increased almost 10-fold in China since the early 1980s, with one in 10 adults in China now affected by diabetes. Although adiposity is the major modifiable risk factor for diabetes, other research ...

Key drivers of high US healthcare spending identified

March 13, 2018
The major drivers of high healthcare costs in the U.S. appear to be higher prices for nearly everything—from physician and hospital services to diagnostic tests to pharmaceuticals—and administrative complexity.

Pedometer health boost lasts four years

March 13, 2018
Wearing a pedometer to count your daily steps can keep you healthier and more active for as long as four years after using it, a new study shows.

Toilet-to-tap: Gross to think about, but how does it taste?

March 13, 2018
Here's a blind test taste like Pepsi never imagined. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, recently published a study of recycled wastewater that did not focus on its safety-which has long been established-but ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jan 22, 2014
Perhaps attached to an app that make your computer/TV screen get smaller and smaller if you don't pedal it hard enough.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.