You’ve probably seen or heard the phrase, “Sitting is the new smoking.” There have been countless news reports about how vital it is to avoid sitting all day long, and there have been many recent studies to back this up.
In fact, a compilation of 13 studies showed that sitting for 8 or more hours a day poses the same risks to your body as smoking and obesity, and it can be held responsible for some pretty serious health concerns including: elevated blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, excess fat storage in the midsection, and obesity.
So, we get it—sitting all day behind a desk is really, really bad for us. What can we do to counter these effects? A current trend in offices and universities is the use of treadmill desks. Read on as we explore the good, the bad, and…the potentially annoying… sides of treadmill desks.
What IS a Treadmill Desk, Anyway?
A treadmill desk is exactly what you are picturing it to be; a raised desk with an attached (or freestanding) treadmill deck, intended to keep the user on the move throughout the day instead of sitting. Depending on the bells and whistles, a treadmill desk can run you about $1,000 for a bare-bones model readily available at your favorite online “everything store”, up to $4,999+ for Steelcase’s executive line.
What’s So Great About Treadmill Desks?
Treadmill desks are intended to help get people who would otherwise be sedentary up and moving regularly, and this it does. In fact, when the Mayo Clinic had treadmill desks installed, workers using treadmill desks took 2000 more steps than when they used a traditional desk setup.
Using a treadmill desk gets you moving, so you can push through your day without the inevitable afternoon slump. Some people find walking at a treadmill desk helps them feel less stressed and more clear-headed while on phone calls or when trying to think through a problem. Regular treadmill desk use can also lead to weight loss, particularly in otherwise sedentary and moderately overweight individuals— approximately 3-7lb over the course of a year are routinely shed.
So, It Sounds Like I Should Get A Treadmill Desk For MY Workspace, Right?
Not so fast. While the “pros” do sound pretty great, there are also some negatives. For instance, even the smallest models of treadmill desks take up a considerable amount of space. If you are short on room, this can be a definite dealbreaker.
Then, there is the reality of actually concentrating and getting work done while in constant motion. (It isn’t as easy at it may seem.) Speaking of constant motion, you’ll need to keep that in mind when dressing for work. Your favorite dress pants or cute pumps are not exactly cut out for walking all day. Then, not only can the treadmill desk be a detriment to your own productivity, you could be a distraction to others as well; the constant motion, the whirring noise of the belt – although quieter than a standard home or gym treadmill, is still present.
What’s The Takeaway?
While having access to a treadmill desk can prove to be beneficial health-wise, the negatives really outweigh the positives on this one. Treadmill desks are a trend whose true staying power as a viable sitting-replacement solution remains to be seen.
Instead of walking at a treadmill desk, you can hop up from your traditional desk and take a loop around your workspace; get a drink of water, use the restroom, and return a few times per day. This can help you in two ways— you’ll be improving your hydration as well as movement.
Instead of using a treadmill desk to head off that 2:30 feeling and improve concentration, you could head to the gym for a workout that will give you strength, endurance, and improved mental function far beyond what a treadmill desk can… Contact Elite Training San Diego for a free evaluation and workout session.