Research lead by Thomas indicates that in-office drinking water can have an important effect on employees’ mental and physical health, as well as how they move through their workplace. The team found that the office workers it interviewed “put considerable labor into developing and maintaining complex systems for making choices about what, how and where to eat while working. These systems . . . were then strained and frequently sabotaged by food that simply materialized in the workplace through catered meals and office ‘food altars.’ . . .
Increase Physical Activity
Organizing grade school playgrounds into different activity areas has been linked to increases in physical activity among students. Researchers have learned that “zones with specific games can improve physical activity, improving a child’s chance of engaging in the recommended 60 minutes of ‘play per day,’ an effort endorsed by many health organizations. . . . Researchers found that average physical activity increased by 10 percent and children averaged 175 more steps on a zoned playground compared to a traditional playground. . . .
Fleig and team’s research confirms that perceptions drive action. Data collected in a “highly walkable” neighborhood from older adults (average age 70) were assessed. Information on attitudes and perceptions was gathered via a questionnaire and actual movement was determined via ActiGraph GT3X + accelerometers worn for 7 consecutive days. Analyses indicated that “perceived street connectivity and diversity of land use were negatively related to sedentary behavior. . . . the perceived built environment is important for physical activity and sedentary behavior . . .
Aligning colors with activity goals
Designing for walking pays off, literally
Converting seated meetings to walking meetings is good for our physical health. A study published in Preventing Chronic Disease indicates that “Changing just one seated meeting . . . into a walking meeting increased the work-related physical activity levels of white-collar workers by 10 minutes. . .
Pilcher and Baker wanted to learn more about the relationship between moving in some way while working and professional performance. They had people participating in their study work on a desktop while pedaling (at a FitDesk, described below) and also at a traditional sedentary desk. The researchers found that when study “participants pedaled the stationary bicycle at a slow pace (similar in exertion to a normal walking pace) while working. . . cognitive task performance did not change between the two workstations.
Think that a place has so much air pollution that walkways, bicycle paths, etc., there are not a good investment? Reconsider. Researchers have found that “The health benefits of walking and cycling outweigh the negative effects on health of air pollution, even in cities with high levels of air pollution.” Investigators conclude that “in practical terms, air pollution risks will not negate the health benefits of active travel in the vast majority of urban areas worldwide.
Gardner and his team investigated ways researchers have tried to encourage people to sit less. They found that “Very or quite promising interventions tended to have targeted sedentary behaviour instead of physical activity. Interventions based on environmental restructuring, persuasion, or education were most promising. Self-monitoring, problem solving, and restructuring the social or physical environment were particularly promising behaviour change techniques.” Providing sit-stand desks was one of the interventions most successful at reducing sitting time.
An international study, published in a premier medical journal, probed walkability in 14 cities worldwide. Analyzing data from the International Physical Activity and Environment Network (IPEN) Adult Study, investigators found that when “Indicators of walkability, public transport access, and park access were assessed in 1.0 km and 0.5 km street network buffers around each participant's residential address. . . . [that]Four of six environmental attributes were significantly, positively, and linearly related to physical activity . . . : net residential density . . . , intersection density .