Treadmill desks could just be the solution to our sedentary work lifestyle. While many of us are returning to the office or expanding our home workspace, might you consider adding a standing desk?
It’s no secret that we should sit less. In fact, in America, we average around 9.3 hours a day in our chairs, compared to the average 7.7 hours of sleep. So, why is sitting for so long harmful?
As soon as we sit down:
- The electrical activity in the leg muscles shuts off.
- As a result, our calorie burning drops to 1 per minute.
Furthermore, after just one hour, our production of enzymes that burn fat declines by 90%.
Extended sitting and lack of physical activity are directly linked to:
- 6% of the impact for heart diseases
- 7% for type 2 diabetes
- 10% for breast cancer or colon cancer
But it’s not all doom and gloom. For many of us, being in an office for over eight hours a day is inevitable. However, we can make changes to how we work and improve our health at the same time.
Since sitting was compared to the new smoking in 2013, we saw the mainstreaming of standing desks, and this concept has metamorphosed over the past decade.
Introducing treadmill desks! In this post, we will tell you everything you need to know before you consider the shift to walking while working.
1. How do I choose a treadmill desk?
Before you decide on a moving workspace, it’s best to know the specific features and details available to decide if this will work for you. Some features you should look out for include the following.
Is the desk spacious enough to hold your laptop, monitor, keyboard, diary, phone, and bottle of water? For example, a treadmill desk that measures 31-38 inches in length and 44-47 inches in width is sufficient for many people. Also, make sure that the desk can withhold the weight of your appliances.
When looking at treadmill desks, adjustability is an important aspect. How will you store your treadmill when you aren’t using it?
- An upright folding desk treadmill can slide into a closet.
- A non-folding or flat-folding can slide under a sofa or bed.
This is a feature definitely worth considering if you are installing a treadmill desk in an office space. Ideally, you want to look for a treadmill with a smooth-running belt and a quiet motor. For example, 2.25 horsepower or less is the best for walking and keeping noise at a minimum.
Most advanced treadmills allow you to monitor your exercise progress on your laptop via Bluetooth.
- Remote or app-based speed control features allow you to adjust your pace while you’re working.
- Preset programs provide automatic speed control based on your fitness objectives.
2. What are the benefits of a standing treadmill desk?
Let's take a look at several of the benefits.
Walking helps to oxygenate the brain by stimulating blood circulation, which means we think better and faster when we walk. As a result, you should see a huge improvement in your productivity rate in terms of work quality, time management, and mental performance.
Improves Mood and Reduces Stress
When we exercise, the brain releases endorphins to our body, which boosts our mood, decreases anxiety and increases our confidence as we reach certain fitness and health goals.
Walking lets your creative juices flow and conjure up new ideas for upcoming projects, as well as problem-solving. On a treadmill desk, you have the benefit of walking outside while at your office, developing your creativity and boosting your performance.
Boosts Focus and Energy Levels
9% of treadmill desk users have better memory recall than those who don’t walk and work. Many office spaces also see an increase in job satisfaction.
Improves Health Issues
Improves the following caused by sitting all day:
- Reduces risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes
- Maintains a healthy body weight
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Prevents of osteoporosis by increasing bone density
- Relieves back pain
3. What are the cons of a treadmill desk?
It's always a good thing to go over the cons too.
It can take some time to get used to a treadmill desk workstation. Finding your ideal walking and working pace takes plenty of trial and error, which can cause distractions and errors from the get-go.
Typing and walking is also a challenge at first, so you might find some typos in emails.
Drop-in Performance Levels
Your performance will most likely decline during the learning and experimentation period, and it’s difficult to predict how long it will take to adjust to a new standing way of work-life.
Treadmill desks can take up a lot of space. If you are introducing a treadmill desk in your office, carefully measure the space before you purchase and think of those around you.
Distracting for Coworkers
Some coworkers might find the sound of repetitive steps and the running belt annoying. Others might be put off when your head moves up and down on a Zoom call.
4. What is the maximum safe speed to use a treadmill desk?
Just like sitting all day isn’t good for us, neither is walking. That’s why it’s better to use your treadmill desk in intervals.
95% of the population walk comfortably between 1.2 and 1.8 mph. There are, of course, faster walkers out there, especially city commuters racing for the next train. However, you don’t need to bring this pace to work.
It’s not recommended to walk faster than 2.5mph as at this point, your cardio heart rate increases, making you sweat and lose proficiency.
If you want a workout while you work, you can add an incline and walk at a steeper degree to burn more calories—if that’s your goal.
5. How should I set up a treadmill desk?
One of the major benefits of a treadmill desk over a sitting desk is that it:
- Improves your posture
- Relieves lower back pain
- Provides a way to help recover any existing back problems
You can adjust your treadmill and standing desks to meet your specific needs. This is extremely beneficial for taller people as it prevents them from stooping over, causing more back pain.
Ideally, your elbows should be at a 90° angle to your keyboard. It won’t be possible to stay at this angle constantly as you begin to walk, but if you set up your desk at 90° while stationary, the angle will vary only slightly, which is still acceptable.
After the experimentation period, when you have found your groove as you walk and work, it’s recommended to mark the spot on the floor where you perform the best on your treadmill desk.
That way, you can set up your desk immediately each day instead of trying to find the optimized position every time.
6. What kind of work can be done while walking on a treadmill?
It is essential to be aware that not all types of work can be completed while walking on a treadmill. Even though the walking speed is minimal, your body does move. This makes graphic and design work merely impossible!
However, the following tasks are possible:
- Taking calls
- Watching webinars
- Training videos
- Sending emails
Why not start on the treadmill while you organize the day ahead and switch back to your ergonomic office chair for more focus-necessary tasks.
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