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Walking At Work — Treadmill Desks

While researching walking at work I came across the “treadmill desk” which combines a treadmill and a desk. I was intrigued and decided to learn more.

Details Sit-to-WalkstationDr. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, is often credited with popularizing the treadmill desk concept. Moving around is good for you and walking burns calories. A person walking at 2 miles per hour will burn approximately 100 calories per mile and will have burned 200 calories after 1 hour. Also, being healthy is green.

Healthy employees are important to business success and moving around is better than sitting. Providing people at work with alternatives to get up and move and still do their work is a no-brainer. A treadmill desk is a viable option.

What is a Treadmill Desk?

A treadmill desk is just what it sounds like, a combination of a treadmill and a desk.

  • TrekDesk Treadmill DeskDesktops have space for a computer, keyboard, mouse, phone, and a file folder or two. Some have accessories.
  • Treadmills run at speeds between 1 to 4 miles per hour so users can walk and still do their work.
  • Some treadmill desks have tops that adjust from walking to sitting height with a section next to the treadmill for a chair.

What are the Differences Between Treadmill Desk Models?

LifeSpan Treadmill DeskTreadmill desks come in a wide variety of models and price ranges. From making your own desktops starting at $40 for materials (treadmill additional). To models with integrated treadmills and electric height adjustable desktops for $4,400 plus. A few are listed below (google treadmill desk for more).
  • Home-made treadmill desks abound from tops laid across arms of a treadmill to desks built around a treadmill.
  • TrekDesk makes a “cockpit” type desk that is placed over a treadmill.
  • LifeSpan, a fitness equipment company, has added a treadmill desk to their line.
  • Steelcase, an office furniture maker, sells the Walkstation under their Details brand.
  • Office furniture maker Signature combines a treadmill with a traditional style desk.
  • KontorMølla is a European company that sells the Office Mill treadmill desk.

Things to Think About

  • Safety first. We’re talking a desk with a big moving component.
  • Placement within the office space is an important consideration to prevent tripping accidents.
  • Measure how much space you have available and remember to leave a perimeter around the treadmill.
  • Treadmill desktops should be adjustable so the employee’s keyboard and work materials are at the proper height. Ease of adjustment is important especially if the treadmill desk is shared by different people.
  • Desks with space next to the treadmill for a chair provide an option for employees to sit down when they get tired of walking. This style will take more space and require a top that adjusts from walking to sitting height.
  • Putting a stool or any kind of sitting device on top of a treadmill seems a dicey proposition. Employees could injure themselves lifting it on or off, or what if the treadmill had not been turned off.
  • It’s probably not a good idea to wear high heeled shoes while walking on the treadmill. Employees can keep a pair of tennis shoes or flats in a desk drawer.
  • Like any new habit, using a treadmill desk may take a few weeks to get used to. People who haven’t used a treadmill should start slow and build up to more time.

Top 3 Applications for Treadmill Desks (Author’s Opinion)

Technology has enabled office workers to be more mobile, and having an assigned workspace is becoming less necessary or even desirable. Employees value flexibility and personal choice. Providing treadmill desks as one of the several options made available to employees is a good strategy.

  1. Shared Areas: non-assigned “touch down” spaces is an excellent Shared Treadmill Desk Area (photo from Details)application for treadmill desks. Shared equipment that employees can log onto or portable equipment make it easy to pick up and go. Employees and even visitors can get in some walking while checking e-mail, returning calls, etc.
  2. Private Offices or Home Offices: seem ideal for “assigned” treadmill desks. It facilitates a variety of work tasks and only needs to be adjusted for one person.
  3. Meetings and Conference Calls: some people spend a lot of time in meetings and on Walking Meeting (photo from Details)the phone. Place several treadmill desks together for walking conferences. Heavy phone users can walk and talk to their heart’s content. In this case, you might not want the treadmill desks facing each other.

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Walking — Good for the Planet and Good for You — At Work

Most people spend a lot of time at work earning a living. With a little creativity, you can build walking into your day, which benefits you and the environment.

Already walk a lot at work? Skip this post and put your feet up. Those of you who sit a lot at work, read on. Many health experts recommend walking 10,000 steps a day as part of a healthy lifestyle. Work provides lots of opportunities.

10 Easy Ways to Rack Up Walking Steps at Work

  1. Walk to Work
  2. Walk to Mass Transit
  3. Park Far Away
  4. Take the Stairs
  5. Face to Face
  6. Take a Break
  7. Talk on the Phone
  8. Hold a Walking Meeting
  9. Show me the Money
  10. Walk and Work

Walk to Work

If you live within a mile or so of where you work, walking is a viable option. Since you don’t have to find a place to park and then walk, it may actually take less time than driving.

Walk to Mass Transit

Live too far away to walk to work but near a stop for a bus, carpool, subway, or train? You score steps for walking to the stop, then work, and back. Plus taking mass transit is way more environmentally-friendly than driving.

Park Far Away

Full Parking LotCan’t or won’t walk to work or mass transit? Then park as far away from the building entrance as possible. Large office or retail complexes with big parking lots provide an opportunity for a lot of steps. If you visit clients at their offices, skip visitor parking (if allowed) and park away from the building entrance. If you have a parking garage at your place of work, great, drive up to the top level and take the stairs.

Take the Stairs

We all know we should take the stairs but do we? Next time you have the option between an elevator or escalator and stairs, actually take the stairs.

Face to Face

Skip e-mail, texting, and the phone. Get up from your desk and walk to talk with a colleague. It’s a good way to get some walking in and make a personal connection. Visit the “back office” or warehouse. This could be a 1/4 mile or more each way. One of my friends was an operations manager of a distribution division which included a large warehouse. She wore a business suit and tennis shoes and walked many miles a day from the office to the warehouse and back. Just goes to show you can be professional and comfortable.

Take a Break

Businesswomen Walking in ParkThe reason they are called breaks is you are supposed to actually take a break from work. Taking a walk during a short break, even just around the office or plant, burns calories and add steps. Break the habit of eating lunch at your desk. Bring your lunch and walk to a park or buy your lunch and walk to a park. Walk to run errands, shop, go to the library. Taking breaks is good for your mental well-being too.

Talk on the Phone

Get a wireless headset or ear bud and walk around while talking on the phone. People who spend a lot of time on the phone or in conference calls could walk several miles while talking on the phone.

Hold a Walking Meeting

Business people often complain about going to too many meetings. Maybe if more meetings were held while walking, they would be more productive and shorter. Certainly, a walking meeting is more feasible with a small group. If you must attend a sit-down meeting, don’t forget to take the stairs when you have the opportunity.

Show Me the Money

Pedometer with Tape MeasureMore and more employers are realizing that promoting employee wellness is a win-win. For example, healthy employees may be more creative and productive, take fewer sick days, and have fewer injuries. Some companies offer cash incentives or prizes for regular check-ups, screenings, or for quitting smoking. Walking competitions enhance employee health and camaraderie.

Walk and Work

While researching walking at work I came across the “treadmill desk” which combines a treadmill and a desk. I was so intrigued by this concept, I decided to do more research and write a separate post about it.

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