Chances are you multitask plenty on the job. Do you check emails and update spreadsheets while on a conference call? If so, you’re in good company. However, there’s a group of office workers taking multitasking on the job to a whole new level: they’re working out while they work.
No, these people aren’t Phys Ed teachers, personal trainers or professional athletes. They’re everyday people who work in an office sitting at a desk. Except they’re not sitting down while they type. They’re walking… on a treadmill… at their desks.
Not your average gym treadmill
These special treadmill desks were created so employees who were often sedentary throughout the work day could get physical activity on the job.
Treadmill desks, also called “walking desks” or “treadmill workstations,” consist of a treadmill with a desktop securely balanced on top of the treadmill’s console. An employee’s workstation equipment – including a computer, keyboard, phone and more – sits at a comfortable height so the employee can work and walk simultaneously. Users should walk at an extremely slow pace – only 1-2 miles per hour. This speed is intentionally slower than a normal walking pace so that employees can carry out routine work activities without breaking a sweat.
The perks of walking while you work
The past few years, study after study has revealed just how harmful sitting for long periods of time is for our health. Sitting over four hours per day (as most office workers do) has been linked with type 2 diabetes, heart disease and a shorter life expectancy.
With that said, there’s also an obesity epidemic going on. Not getting enough exercise is partly to blame for our nation’s expanding waistline. In fact, 80 percent of adults don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity. Using a treadmill desk seems like a great solution for these problems.
Dr. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, would likely agree. Dr. Levine is credited for creating the first treadmill desk back in 2005. He wanted to find a way to help himself and others get in extra activity throughout the day to help meet weight loss goals. Dr. Levine estimates that the average work-walker burns 100-130 calories per hour. So, if an employee uses a treadmill desk for 8 hours a day every workday, he or she could shed up to one to two pounds per week.
Treadmill desk enthusiasts cite more benefits beyond weight loss. Users claim that treadmill desks can help ease back pain and leg neuropathy and improve circulation.
Where to find a treadmill desk
People are using treadmill desks in corporate settings and in their home offices. Several fitness equipment companies make different models, with prices ranging from approximately $500 to a few thousand dollars.
Note that these treadmills differ from traditional treadmills – they don’t have an incline, have a lower range of speed, and are quieter. They’re designed for walking only. However, if you’re crafty and into DIY projects, it’s possible to repurpose a regular treadmill and turn it into a walking desk.
Have you ever tried a treadmill desk?
this photo isn’t ideal, but I doubt Livestrong wants to highlight a competitor’s treadmill