Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Exercise and Sport Sciences

Major Professor

David R. Bassett

Committee Members

Dixie L. Thompson, Eugene C. Fitzhugh, Naima Moustaid-Moussa, Bob Rider


The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the feasibility and effectiveness of treadmill workstations as a weight loss intervention. Specific aims were (a) to determine if walking while working at a treadmill workstation affects selective attention and mental processing speed, and performance of simulated office work tasks involving fine motor movements (typing and mouse movements) and mathematical and verbal reasoning, and (b) To determine if using of a treadmill workstation favorably influences anthropometric, body composition, cardiovascular, metabolic, musculoskeletal, and mental stress variables in overweight and obese office workers.

For the first aim, 20 participants completed tests to assess selective attention and processing speed, typing speed, mouse clicking/drag-and-drop speed, and GRE math and reading comprehension under seated and walking conditions. The seated condition produced significantly better results for mouse clicking (26.6 +3.0 vs. 28.2 +2.5 s) and drag-and-drop (40.3 +4.2 vs. 43.9 +2.5 s), typing (40.2 +9.1 vs. 36.9 +10.2 adjusted words/min), and math tests (71.4 +15.2 vs. 64.3 +13.4%). There were no significant differences between the 2 conditions in selective attention and processing speed or in reading comprehension. The 6 to 11% decrease in measures of fine motor skills and math problem solving could be eliminated through acclimation to the treadmill workstation.

For the second aim, 12 overweight or obese office workers used a treadmill workstation for a period of 9 months. Weight, waist and hip circumferences, body composition, resting heart rate and blood pressure, lipid and metabolic profile, bone mineral density, physical activity, musculoskeletal discomfort, and mental stress variables were measured at baseline, 3 months, and at the end of the study. Significant reductions were observed in waist (by 5.5 cm) and hip (by 4.8 cm) circumferences, LDL (by 16 mg/dL), total cholesterol (by 15 mg/dL), and in the median time spent sitting/lying (p<0.05). Participants significantly increased the median times spent standing and stepping and their total steps/day by the end of the study (p<0.05). Additional energy expenditure from using a treadmill workstation may be sufficient to stop weight gain or even result in weight loss among overweight and obese office workers.

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