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Researchers say treadmill desks make you smarter

Daniel Cooper, @danielwcooper
February 7, 2015
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Every week, a group of scientists publish a study that arrives at a ker-azy, headline-grabbing conclusion. Unfortunately, it's easy to just report on these studies as if they were handed down as truth by St. Albert, the patron saint of scientists. That's why we should take this Canadian study, published in Computers in Human Behavior, with an obligatory pinch of salt. According to its conclusions, you see, people who work at a treadmill desk aren't only healthier, but are also significantly smarter.

The test involved 18 students from the Montreal area, of which 9 were asked to read some text and answer dummy emails sat down, while the remainder did the same while using a treadmill desk. After a 10 minute break, the participants were then wired up to an EEG machine and asked true-or-false questions about the text and emails that they were meant to be reading.

The researchers found that the treadmill desk group were 34.9 percent more likely to answer a question correctly than the sitting counterparts. The walkers also believed themselves to be paying more attention to their work, and the EEGs demonstrated that the group was showing more signs of attentiveness and better memory retention compared to their static comrades.

But does this study tell us anything about our own working environments? This Engadget editor has waxed lyrical about the benefits of standing desks before, and we've covered the topic pretty extensively. The physical health benefits are clear, but we're not sure you could take a copy of this study to your boss to demand they fork out the $1,000 just to improve your brain performance by a third. After all, that's why there's a free coffee machine out in the hall.



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