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Walking while working may ease muscle pain

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 01:51

Canadian research suggests that treadmill workstations may help prevent work-related neck and shoulder musculoskeletal disorders. Jillian Kitchener reports.

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Computer work isn't always a complete pain the neck… and researchers at Canada's McGill University are out to prove it. Kinesiology professor Julie Cote and her team at the biomechanics and ergonomics lab in Quebec say those who use treadmill workstations may have healthier muscular patterns than those who sit at a desk. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JULIE COTE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR IN THE DEPARTMENT OF KINESIOLOGY AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION AT MCGILL UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "We found in terms of muscle activity there were patterns that seemed to be healthier in the neck and shoulder when people were walking. And what that means is that the amplitude or quantity of activation was a little bit lower in the neck and shoulder muscles." Her lab asked 20 healthy participants to complete a 90-minute typing task while sitting or walking on a treadmill. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JULIE COTE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR IN THE DEPARTMENT OF KINESIOLOGY AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION AT MCGILL UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "We found out that in terms of performance - typing performance - there was no difference between how fast or how many mistakes people were making whether they were walking or seated." But there were physical differences, which she says come from how the muscles work. Electrodes were used to collected data on blood flow, muscle activity and movement or posture with the help of "motion capture" technology. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JULIE COTE, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR IN THE DEPARTMENT OF KINESIOLOGY AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION AT MCGILL UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "The patterns of activation were more variable so when you move a little bit and when you sway your body, what that does is it creates more variability in the activation of your muscles is a good thing actually." Standing desks have also proven beneficial. Cote says their participants performed better when on their feet. She says the next step would be to team-up with companies - or research institutes - to see how their results transfer to the working world… where people spend an average of seven hours each day. And that can be a pain.

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Walking while working may ease muscle pain

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 01:51