Mullane and her team studied the effects of standing, cycling, and walking on cognitive performance. Data were collected from overweight (BMI=29 plus or minus 3 kg/m) adults who sat, stood, walked or cycled while working in a simulated office environment for 8-hour periods. Participants assigned to the SIT condition sat throughout the entire test period; those who stood, cycled, or walked did so at light intensity (the walking and cycling participants moved a rate equivalent to walking one mile an hour) and intermittently (but for at least 10 minutes per hour) during the test period. Cognitive performance tests were administered to participants who were sitting down after their sitting, standing, walking, or cycling “work” periods; on separate days each participant worked while, and was tested after, sitting, standing, walking, and cycling. The Mullane-lead researchers report that “Cognitive performance . . . and accuracy measures were higher [statistically significantly higher] during STAND, CYCLE and WALK . . . conditions compared to the SIT condition. CYCLE was better than other experimental conditions. . . . Compared to uninterrupted sitting, short bouts of standing or light-intensity cycling and walking may improve acute cognitive performance.”
Sarah Mullane, Matthew Burman, Zachary Zeigler, Noe Crespo, and Glenn Gaesser. 2017. “Acute Effects on Cognitive Performance Following Bouts of Standing and Light-Intensity Physical Activity in a Simulated Workplace Environment.” Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, vol. 20, no. 5, pp. 489-493.