We take a look some of the top concerns and misconceptions for using the Treadmill Desk while at work and address them one-by-one:
1) I can’t run at work, I’ll get all sweaty. Well actually this one is true. If you run on a treadmill, then you will get sweaty and that would not be good for most work environments. However, this is a misconception because you would not be running at all. On a treadmill desk you would only be walking and probably at about 50% of a normal walking pace. (I usually walk about 4MPH and while on my treadmill desk at work, I walk at a pace of about 2.5MPH). In fact, “walking treadmills” like the Lifespan 1200-DT3, by design will not go any faster than 4MPH. The reason – They have a motor that is built specifically to move at slower speeds, and a normal treadmill will blow through its motor faster if it is only being used at speeds such as 2MPH consistently. A treadmill base built for walking is a much better long-term choice. So understand this is a walk, not a run, at work!
2) Walking that slowly can’t be a good workout. OK, here is another that is actually true. Walking slowly at 1-4MPH is certainly not a great workout for most people. Here is the catch – it is not meant to be a workout – it is meant to be an alternative to sitting all day. There have been multiple studies that show the relationship between regular exercise and a reduction in cancer. However recently a study by Australia’s Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute took that a step further in stating that prolonged sitting has the opposite effect, increasing the risk of cancer. “Higher activity could prevent nearly 100,000 cases of breast and colon cancer in the U.S. each year.” Says Christine Friedenreich, PhD. So again, this is not about getting the same workout you get that at the gym. This is about moving vs being stationary for a long period of the day.
3) I will lose focus on my work. Here finally we have an actual misconception. As many people have started to use Treadmill desks in the workplace, most will actually tell you the opposite. They feel that they actually become more focused on the work. In fact, while some users admit it took between a day to a couple weeks to get used to, they eventually felt they were getting more work done as they were much more focused. This actually aligns with studies that show that physical movement does get the blood flowing causing more alertness.
4) I can’t really walk very far at that pace. I guess that depends on how you define “far”. I mean sure you are not going to go 50 miles in a day. Here is a photo of yesterday where the LifeSpan Fitness monitor showed me at 3.05 miles for the day.
It also shows speed, calories burned, and total steps I take during a walk (today that was 11,320 steps) That being said, I use my treadmill desk for some period of time every day. On a good day, I will walk about 2 hours in the morning and then another 2 hours in the afternoon. On those days I walk over 6 miles. It really adds up. On an average week I probably walk about 20 miles. So in an average month over 80 miles. Since I am from Chicago, that means that in a year, I could walk from my home town all the way to Denver CO, or Houston TX, or Myrtle Beach SC. Now can you come up with any argument that would conclude that a walk of that distance throughout the year would NOT be better than sitting?
5) The desk won’t be the right size for me. Ergonomics is actually a valid point of consideration in a treadmill desk. These days there are a lot of companies that make adjustable desks for people who are looking to either stand or walk while working. In the Lifespan Fitness line both the Lifespan TR800-DT7 and the Lifespan TR1200-DT7 have both the treadmill base and an electronically adjustable desk for environments where multiple users will potentially be using the desk. The Lifespan TR800-DT5 and the TR1200-DT5 bundles have both the treadmill base and a manually adjustable desk for when the desk height will be changed less frequently. The automated desks obviously have a better ability to be an exact match for someone’s personal height, where the manual desks will be an approximate fit since it only has 4 adjustable heights.
6) My legal department will never approve it. This is becoming less and less of a problem now that there are an estimated 100,000 Treadmill desks in use today. However, it still is a concern. Mostly this stems from the massive amount of “YouTube Fail” type videos as well as the fact that people do get injured on treadmills every day. However, of the over 50,000 injuries that happen on treadmills, none that we have heard of have been on a treadmill desk. There is pretty good reason for this. As discussed above in #1, treadmills that are built for walking are not built to run on. In fact, most of the walking treadmills on the market have motors specifically built for walking. They can only obtain speeds of 4.0 MPH or less. Alas, you will likely need to give something “legal” to the legal department, and so we have attached a simple sample agreement that employees could sign to handle any HR/legal issues. Feel free to take this as a model for your in house legal team to look at. Is legal still a hurdle, yes. However, that being said, due to the fact that most attorneys sit all day, it is ironic (and a good argument for your legal team) that law firms are some of the biggest adopters of the treadmill desk craze.
Treadmill desks are being accepted by more and more companies every day. Companies like Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook, to name a few. In fact, verticals such as medical, legal, education, financial, technology and manufacturing have all seen an increase in the use of Treadmill desks. Of course there are significant health benefits to walking the main being that you are not just sitting all day. With the vast amount of research showing the health risks of long term sitting, the use of a treadmill desk becomes something to take into strong consideration.