Background: Workplaces that provide opportunities for physical activity without requiring extra time for activity could help counteract the obesity epidemic. Desk ellipticals can contribute to activity-supportive workplace environments; however, the feasibility of engaging employees in pedaling ellipticals during simultaneous office work has not been well evaluated. Objective: We aim to present the rationale and methods from an ongoing randomized trial with overweight and obese employees that will evaluate (1) the effects of pedaling a compact desk elliptical on work performance and (2) the influence of different incentive types and schedules on desk pedaling quantity. Methods: Overweight and obese medical center employees are being recruited in dyads for a 2 (gift card type: healthier food vs Amazon) by 3 (gift card schedule: immediate incentive contingent on individual pedaling quantity; immediate incentive partially contingent on dyads' joint pedaling quantity; and delayed noncontingent pedaling incentive) cluster randomized within-subjects factorial trial. All participants receive a Bluetooth-enabled desk elliptical for 4 weeks and access to a mobile app that provides real-time pedaling feedback. The primary aims are to assess (1) change in employee work performance from preto postelliptical installation via employee and supervisor ratings and (2) effects of gift card type and schedule on quantity of objectively measured desk pedaling completed. Results: Data collection is ongoing. We expect to complete main outcome analyses in 2020. Conclusions: This trial represents one of the earliest attempts to assess the effects of desk pedaling and pedaling-incentive types in real-world offices. It could help bridge the research-to-practice gap by providing evidence on whether desk pedaling can be sustained without compromising work performance.
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