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Sports / Recreation

Walk while you work: Try a treadmill desk

November 4, 2013
By Brittni Jensen

While walking at a (very!) low speed, we can continue to get work done, while decreasing our daily time spent sitting.

We've all heard about the importance of exercise. Search high and low, and you'll be hard-pressed to find someone who does not know about the necessity of incorporating physical activity to enhance his or her health. But many times, there is a large gap between what we know is important, and how that plays out in our daily lives.

The goal for those of us in the health and fitness industry is to reduce the gap any chance we get. One way to accomplish this is to make it easier for our clients to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices. So we try to take advantage of something many Americans are great at: multi-tasking.

As I write this article, I am walking. "How?" you ask.

Treadmill desk battles too much sitting

Well, I'm taking advantage of a recent invention: the treadmill desk. Although the benefits of exercise are widely known, studies have begun to show the detrimental effects of too much sitting time. Unfortunately, many of us are constant sitters: We work in jobs where we sit, ride in cars, watch TV, and the like; this is our normal daily routine. Even if we are among the exercisers, it's been shown that mortality rates are still higher for us in comparison to other exercisers if we sit too much! This includes deaths from all causes, as well as specifically the top two causes here in America: cardiovascular disease and cancer. 

So what is there to do? It's already tough enough to squeeze in those exercise routines, not to mention trying to ease up on the sitting time. That's where the treadmill desk comes in handy. While walking at a (very!) low speed, we can continue to get work done, while decreasing our daily time spent sitting! 

A study published this spring in the Obesity journal incorporated treadmill desks for corporate employees for one year. Not only did these employees increase their exercise time, but they also significantly decreased their sitting time. Additionally, employees lost weight, with the most weight loss occurring in obese individuals.

Be sure to walk around during the day

What is the take-home message from this? First off, see if your department is willing and able to incorporate treadmill desks into your workstations. A trial period may help prove the effectiveness of these machines. Is that too much to ask?

An easy alternative is to set a timer while you're at your desk. Ensure you take a quick break to stand up and walk around. The minutes you spend during walk breaks will add up into time you add on to your life, by increasing exercise and decreasing sitting time. So let's give our glutes a break and do something good for ourselves. Start at work and start today!

Brittni Jensen is director of the Adult Fitness program at CSU. Additionally, she teaches practicum courses for health and exercise science students who are in the health promotion concentration, as well as a wellness programming class. Contact Brittni at brittni.jensen@colostate.edu. This article originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of CSU Life for Faculty & Staff.


Contact: Gretchen Gerding
E-mail: Gretchen.Gerding@colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-5182