I’m sure you’ve heard that sitting is the new smoking. We are hunched in front of our computers for hours in one position, gaining unhealthy fat, developing body pain, and making ourselves sick.
My solution: the treadmill desk! It is now becoming easier to have one. Seriously, this thing is AH-MAZING. It will save lives!
Why It’s So Great
You can work at your computer AND burn more calories - AT THE SAME TIME - without even thinking about it! It’s like you’re exercising without even trying!
You can be more productive at work because the movement will energize you. You will burn more calories and fat simply because you are moving versus staying still. You will increase your cardio stamina, strengthen your heart, and improve your overall health. It can even help tone up your legs and your abs!
The best part is you’re doing all this and not even thinking about it. You’re just walking while working and gaining health benefits. How awesome is that?!
Under Desk Treadmill
You can get the set-up for your home, or maybe your office. It just depends on how much room you have. I have one for my home office - it takes up about 4 feet of space width-wise and about 5 feet 6 inches length-wise. It isn’t loud/noisy/distracting. I absolutely LOVE it!!!
The set-up works great on a hardwood floor. As for placing it on carpet, it seems to work fine if the carpet is shallow. If you have thick carpet, though, then I’m not sure. If need be, you might have to put it on some plywood boards.
First, set your standing desk to the appropriate ergonomic height. That means your elbows are bent about 90 degrees if you place your hands on the desk while standing in front of it.
Then, place your under-desk treadmill underneath your standing desk and position it so you have room to stride comfortably while walking.
The next step is to set up your desk with your computer/laptop/etc. Make sure it’s all ergonomic. That means your monitor should be at eye level. You can do this by putting your monitor on top of a stack of books, or try a monitor stand. Using a wireless keyboard can help position your arms comfortably while keeping the monitor at eye level.
Follow the instructions on powering up your treadmill and then set your walking speed (see next section). Turn on your laptop/computer, and let’s get to it!
This addition of movement in your daily life is going to prevent weight gain, promote weight loss, reduce pain and tension build-up from being stagnant, strengthen your heart, improve your energy and stamina, and probably add years to your life!
How Fast Should I Walk?
You cannot/should not walk at a normal walking pace on your treadmill desk while working. This is not the gym. The key is to walk at a slow enough pace where you can walk and work at the same time. I can’t stress that enough. This is generally a speed of 1.0mph to 2.0mph, but it will vary for everyone.
Some people have tried working and walking at 3.0mph and found it to be a little too fast for comfort. You could even put it at the lowest speed and you’re still moving rather than sitting or standing still.
Walking “Too Slow”
Some people have said they need to walk too slowly to walk while working, and therefore, would rather just sit/stand because they feel like they are not getting any results. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Walking really slowly is still WALKING. You’re still MOVING. And moving burns more calories, creates more blood flow, and keeps your muscles working- verus no movement at all from sitting/standing still. Of course, we are not statues so if you’re sitting/standing, you will have some type of movement every once in a while. However, you get MORE from walking even at the SLOWEST setting on the treadmill desk. Furthermore, it’s continuous movement. Walking slower means you might be able to walk longer on it, and that longer duration can make up for the lack of speed.
Getting Used To It
It might feel awkward at first. And why wouldn’t it - it’s so different from what we are used to! However, what we are used to is not doing us any good. So, it might be time to try something different!
First, you could start by reading on your screen and walking to help get used to the motion. Once you’re comfortable doing that, then you can start surfing the net. Once that feels okay, then you could try typing for a few minutes. Once that feels okay, you can try typing longer. You can continue to build it up until walking while working becomes your new norm.
Try small bouts of walking at a comfortable pace for about 5 to 15 minutes at a time. Keep building on that by adding a little more time with every walk, or every week. Eventually, your body will adjust and it will become second nature.
If you get dizzy, try slowing down the walking speed. As you get more comfortable, you can begin to slowly increase the speed by about 0.1mph to 0.3pm at a time until you can walk comfortably at the pace you want.
How Long Do I Need To Walk?
Ideally, if you can walk the whole day at work, that would give you the best results. If not, try to get to at least 10,000 steps daily. It doesn’t have to be in one setting; you can break it up - 1000 steps here, 2000 steps there.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity physical activity (30 minutes on 5 days per week) for overall health improvements. For weight loss, they recommend 200 to 300 minutes per week (Donnelly et al., 2009). That’s 40 to 60 minutes on 5 days per week.
Walking slowly while you work may be less than moderate intensity, but you’ll be moving more, thus burning more calories and more fat. The more you walk, the more you will burn. It may take some time, but it will add up. Then, one day, you should notice some good changes in your body and your health.
And like any other activity, you might eventually hit a plateau. Before that plateau hits, you should see improvements in various health markers such as your resting heart rate, blood pressure, mood, and glucose levels. You may even sleep better. This can reduce your risk of chronic disease such as diabetes and obesity. You might even shed a few pounds! Of course, it all depends on how much time you spend on this fabulous machine.
Do I Need To Be Coordinated?
You don’t need coordination. Just make sure to keep the walking pace slow enough for your comfort. And give yourself time to get used to this new way of working.
One thing you want to be careful about is balancing on the treadmill. Walking slowly will help with this. Make sure the treadmill comes to a complete stop before dismounting.
The benefits are plenty, but it’s not a perfect panacea. You may feel a bit of fatigue from using it because, again, you are moving. But that fatigue will fade as you get used to the machine, so don’t give up! Once you get over that hump, you may find yourself having more energy in your daily life.
If you have knee issues, or any type of medical condition, you should consult with your doctor first. After all, it is exercise, just in a different way.
Of course, you will need to wear proper, comfortable walking shoes on this. You may want to keep a pair of walking shoes at work. I think most people do that these days anyway, right?
I Got One For My Husband
I love the treadmill desk so much I got one for my husband. It helps that he has a fair amount of room in his office. The treadmill desk isn’t noisy so it doesn’t bother him nor his co-workers. In fact, it piqued their interest, and now they are considering getting one!
“How’s his productivity, though?” you ask. I’m glad you did! It’s not interfering with his productivity at all; he said he doesn’t even feel it. And at the end of the day - BOOM! 15,000 steps!
It’s been about 5 weeks now and he just started using one notch lower on his belt. I’ll be honest - he does change fast. However, he wouldn’t have seen this change if it wasn’t for the treadmill desk.
Some exercise is better than none. Walking is better than standing, and standing is better than sitting. Our obesity numbers are on the rise, and heart disease is still the leading cause of death in America. All that time we spend sitting, standing still, stagnant; we can make better use of that time- for our health and for our aesthetics.
Are you yet convinced that you need this in your life? I hope so! You gotta go out and get this; it is a life-changer. Exercise without even thinking about it?! Yes, please!!!