Cycling at work

Luc van Loon (1971), professor of Exercise Physiology and Nutrition, Department of Human Biology and Movement Sciences, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences.

“I once had a meeting at the HAN University of Applied Sciences where they had meeting tables with bikes instead of chairs. I thought it was a funny idea. So during the holiday period I brought a cycle chair to Maastricht to try it out. My colleagues were enthusiastic, so I bought six of them and put them around my meeting table, since I rarely work at my desk. Some people cycle away furiously during meetings. Personally I prefer to just stand; if I really have to focus I find it hard to pedal at the same time, but if I’m just listening then I tend to cycle too. I think it’s quite fitting – this is the Department of Human Biology and Movement Sciences, after all – and it makes a bit more of an impression when you have outsiders come in for a meeting.”

Healthy lifestyle
“The effect of cycle chairs on health is hard to quantify, but we know that sitting down for a long time is generally unwise. Pedalling helps you alternate between sitting and standing. Of course, it’s not intended for intensive exercise – for that I’ll hop on my racing bike.”

Standing chair
“The claim ‘sitting is the new smoking’ is increasingly doing the rounds. Cycle chairs help you move away from being entirely sedentary. But standing up for a long time isn’t the best idea either. I also borrowed a ‘standing chair’ from the people at HAN. Another thing I’d never heard of, but if you lean against it with your back, it feels almost like you’re lying down. Nice for when you’re in a meeting or at a concert … But to get back to the office setting: alternating between sitting, standing and moving is the least taxing for your body. I’ve since referred a few colleagues to the company that sells the cycle chairs:”

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