Sitting is the new smoking when it comes to health effects. In an effort to combat the dangers of sitting, many have switched to standing desks or even treadmill desks.
But are treadmill desks really any better than traditional desks? Well, one guy from Digital Trends named Nick Mokey decided to try a treadmill desk for 6 months to find out.
Photos courtesy of Digital Trends
“This is Awesome”
Nick starts off his review of his treadmill desk by stating that “this is awesome”. He claims he felt a bit like a robot at first, pacing endlessly on a treadmill that gets him nowhere while being enslaved to the whims of technology.
Eventually, however, he came to love his contraption – despite comments from his coworkers saying things like “You look like such a dumbass on that thing.”
Moving Just 2 Minutes Every Hour Lowers your Chance of Death by 33%
You probably don’t need to be reminded of how evil sitting is. Every day, we see a new headline about how damaging sitting can be to your health. Some of the stats you need to know about sitting all day include:
-Moving just two minutes every hour lowers your chance of death by 33%
-Sitting all day puts you at a higher risk for diabetes
-86% of Americans spend the majority of their day sitting
Now, here’s where the problem comes in: sitting is required at your job. You don’t walk dogs for a living. You don’t cut down trees. You sit at your computer and get real work done.
Treadmill desks are a solution to that problem.
Treadmill Desks Are More Popular Today Than Ever Before
In some form or another, treadmill desks have been spotted since the late 1990s. Many of these desks were homemade contraptions jimmy-rigged with some sort of platform on which you could place your laptop.
Today, you can buy treadmill desks at retail. One company named LifeSpan sells its desktop treadmill for $1799.99 on Amazon.com. According to that company, sales over the last two years are up over 300%.
Cheaper, used desktop treadmills cost as low as $500, while heavier duty models can cost over $3,000.
But when you’re investing in your health, can you really afford to be cheap?
3.5mph is Way Too Fast
The hardest part about using a desktop treadmill is finding your sweet spot for speed.
Nick started with a medium-paced walking speed of 3.5mph – which is about as fast as you would walk if you were hustling to a meeting you’re late for.
At that speed, Nick found that words bounced all over the page, pointing the cursor between two letters was difficult, and he got too sweaty in the office for it to be anywhere close to enjoyable or productive.
Working and Exercising Is a Lot Like Playing Pool
Nick had a great analogy for working and exercising: it’s a lot like drinking and playing pool. Having a few drinks loosens you up and can sharpen up your game. Having a few more drinks on top of that makes it hard to hit a ball:
“In my speed-walking state, I might as well have been a dozen Jager shots deep. At a slower speed, I hit the buzzed state where work just seemed to complete itself without overthinking it. After 5 or 10 minutes acclimating to the whir and jiggle of working on the move, you start to bliss out and forget you’re moving at all.”
1.1mph Was the Sweet Spot
For Nick, a crawling speed of 1.1mph was the sweet spot. At that speed, you’re still moving and burning a few calories – but you’re also able to concentrate fully on work without becoming distracted or over-exerted.
I Drank Less Coffee
Nick also claims to have drank less coffee. Instead of needing an energy boost after a long lunch – which is usually when productivity declines in offices around the world – Nick discovered that walking gave him all the energy he needed.
Other Benefits of the Treadmill Desk
-Nick no longer felt the need to walk around on the phone while talking
-He was able to stay focused on what other people were saying, respond quickly, and come up with his own thoughtful solutions
-He never felt tired out or unable to go out, go to the gym, or do other normal post-work activities (“If anything I felt less fatigued at the end of a workday, and readier to go out and conquer the world with my free time instead of slumping on the couch.”
Downsides of Treadmill Desks
Despite Nick’s raving review for his treadmill desk, he admitted that there were some flaws that people need to be aware of, including:
-When you first hop on the treadmill, you get an energy boost in the morning for about an hour, although that boost can disappear after an hour of walking. If you’re not used to physical activity, treadmill desks can tire you out (although isn’t the point to become healthier and more active?)
–Walking at 1.1 miles per hour, Nick (a 165 pound man) burned 156 calories per hour. I don’t know if that’s more or less than what you were expecting, but that’s fewer than the calories in a can of Coke. If you’re expecting a miracle weight loss cure, treadmill desks probably aren’t it – but they’re definitely a good supplement.
-Treadmill desks are heavy and difficult to maneuver (you probably knew this already if you ever tried to move a normal treadmill).
-Treadmill desks are loud and not an ideal solution for shared workspaces with multiple coworkers (unless everyone is using a treadmill desk)
Conclusion: Could Companies Start Offering Walking Desks for Employees Soon?
Nick clearly liked his treadmill desk. In the future, he envisions companies keeping track of how much time their employees spend sitting down and then offering alternatives to treadmills or sitting desks.
Don’t forget to read the original article here.