There is increasing concern nowadays among the medical profession about the length of time workers spend sitting at their desk, which is known to be the root of a multitude of health problems. For this reason there are many initiatives to encourage employees to aim for more office fitness, by looking for at work workouts to do both at and away from their desks. Recently a particularly effective type of desk exercise that is becoming increasingly popular is the use of a treadmill desk.
A treadmill desk consists of a work surface at chest height, large enough to hold a computer, printer and other working devices, and a treadmill console in front, so you can stand and walk on it while working at the desk. The height of the desk surface can be adjusted according to the height of the user, and there is a cable tray underneath, to keep cables out of the way. Some treadmill desks also feature padded armrests for additional comfort, and a control panel displaying distance, speed and calories burned. The speed of the treadmill can be adjusted from 0.5 miles per hour to a maximum of 4 miles per hour.
All members of the medical profession without exception agree that sitting down for several hours on end is extremely bad for you, regardless of whether you exercise at other times. Research shows that sitting for more than six hours a day gives you a 40 percent greater chance of dying within the next 15 years, compared with those who sit for four hours or less, while sitting for more than 11 hours a day reduces this time period to three years. This because sitting can cause levels of good cholesterol to drop by as much as 20 percent, and in addition the enzymes responsible for fat and cholesterol metabolism shut down within about two hours. This leads to higher risks of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and some cancers. Finding exercise you can do at work, particularly standing and performing light movements while working, re-engages the enzymes, and restores good cholesterol to levels where it can counteract the bad cholesterol which causes disease.
If you find a workout to do at work, particularly walking at your treadmill while working — even at the slowest speed of 0.5 miles per hour — you will lose at least 200 calories an hour more than you would while you were sitting. This means that you can lose up to 70 extra pounds a year while you work, without so much as breaking a sweat. This increases your heart rate and pumps up your entire cardiovascular system, and at the same time strengthens your muscles, greatly enhancing your energy and mobility. In addition it means that you no longer risk the hip and joint problems that result from a sedentary lifestyle, and often develop into osteoarthritis.
How To Transition To A Treadmill Desk
The advice from users of the treadmill desk to those planning to use it for the first time is that you should make the transition slowly, especially if you are not a regular walker. You can try setting up the desk and using it for an hour a day, and gradually increase the time, or alternatively you could start off with a standing desk, and once you have got used to that, move to a treadmill desk. The one thing you must not do is set up the desk and immediately start spending all day on it, or you will find yourself with strains and all sorts of other injuries.
Walking while you work — or working while you walk — can also take some getting used to, and different activities present different levels of difficulty. Phone calls cause the least problem, as people are used to walking around while talking on their cell phones. The hardest is doing anything that involves handwriting — most people manage it with practice at between 1 and 2 miles per hour. Users generally find typing easier than handwriting, and report that it can be done at about 3 miles per hour.
Of course there are other workouts while at work, such as stretching at your desk, or doing clenches, kegels or ab squeezes, and all these are beneficial. However, there is really nothing to beat a treadmill desk, not only for getting you out of your sedentary habits, but actually keeping you moving and burning calories, almost without noticing. Finding dedicated time for exercise in a busy working day may seem almost impossible, but this way you can not only eradicate the inactivity without finding extra time, but reach new levels of energy and productivity as well.