Cycling on a Bike Desk positively influences Cognitive Performance and Brain Activity

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferencePoster


Introduction Cycling desks as a means to reduce sedentary time in the office has gained interest as excessive sitting has been associated with several health risks. However, the question rises if people will still be as efficient in performing their desk-based office work when combining this with stationary cycling. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess typing, cognitive performance and brain activity during low-intensity cycling on a bike desk. Methods After two familiarisation sessions, 23 adults performed a test battery [typing test, Rey auditory verbal learning test (RAVLT), Stroop test and Rosvold continuous performance test (RCPT)] with electroencephalography recording (N200, P300) while cycling at 30% Wmax (trial A) and while sitting on a conventional chair (trial B), in a counterbalanced order. Repeated measures ANOVA’s and Wilcoxon signed ranks test were used to analyse the data (p < 0.05). Data are presented as mean ± SD. Results Typing performance, performance on the RAVLT and accuracy on the Stroop test and the RCPT did not differ between the cycling and the sitting trial. Reaction times on the Stroop test (639.6 ± 22.5 ms vs. 663.1 ± 24.8 ms; p = 0.01) and the RCPT (377.9 ± 27.7 ms vs. 404.3 ± 36.4 ms; p < 0.001) were shorter while cycling relative to sitting. N200 amplitude during the Stroop test was larger in the cycling than in the sitting condition (-2.8 ± 0.3 μV vs. -2.4 ± 0.3 μV; p = 0.028). P300 amplitude during the RCPT was smaller in the anterior prefrontal cortex while cycling compared to sitting (2.0 ± 8.6 μV vs. 6.6 ± 4.6 μV; p = 0.042). Discussion and conclusion This study showed that typing performance and short-term memory are not deteriorated when people cycle at 30% Wmax, compared to when sitting on a conventional chair. In contrast to previous research, in this study, cycling had a positive effect on selective and sustained attention, as evidenced by the improved RTs on the Stroop test and the RCPT. These improvements were supported by the change in N200 during the Stroop test and P300 during the RCPT. The inclusion of familiarisation sessions in the current protocol is a possible explanation for these different findings on measures of sustained and selective attention, as familiarisation trials in previous studies were limited to maximum 15 minutes. The findings of this study suggest that implementing cycling desks in office settings could not only contribute to reducing health risks associated with excessive sitting, but could also result in improved cognitive performance, therefore work performance.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventVienna ECSS 2016 - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 6 Jul 20169 Jul 2016


ConferenceVienna ECSS 2016


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