The treadmill desk

Okay, every­one knows that sit­ting for long peri­ods of time isn’t good for you. Your bot­tom tends to get big­ger and back pain often occurs over time. But I nev­er knew sit­ting could kill me!

Yes, accord­ing to an art­icle in the Mayo Clinic news­let­ter, pro­longed sit­ting can increase a person’s risk of health prob­lems and pre­ma­ture death from car­di­ovas­cu­lar dis­ease.

One study revealed that adults who sat in front of the TV for more than four hours a day had an 80 per­cent increased risk of death from heart dis­ease and stroke than those who watched less than two hours of TV a day.

And it’s not just TV. Any bouts of exten­ded sit­ting; be they in front of a com­puter, at a desk or driv­ing a vehicle increases the risk. Another shock­er – appar­ently going to the gym after work doesn’t magic­ally erase those harm­ful hours of being on your duff.

So what to do?

The solu­tion,” accord­ing to Dr. James Levine, “seems to be less sit­ting and more mov­ing. Simply by stand­ing, you burn three times as many cal­or­ies as you do sit­ting. Muscle con­trac­tions, includ­ing the ones required for stand­ing, seem to trig­ger import­ant pro­cesses related to the break­down of fats and sug­ars. When you sit down, muscle con­trac­tions cease and these pro­cesses stall.”

Now I have con­sidered alter­ing my work sta­tion so I could type sit­ting down or stand­ing up. In fact, I know an artist who has an adjustable easel for just that pur­pose.

But then I dis­covered a cool video on the Mayo Clinic web­site.

In it, Dr. James Levine, a Mayo Clinic research­er, says that people are built to walk. He’s study­ing the bene­fits of tread­mill desks, which allow people to walk while they work.

What we’ve ended up with are ver­tic­al desks that can be per­son­al­ized for the indi­vidu­al user,” he explains. “They can be used while walk­ing on a tread­mill, they can be used while stand­ing still, they can be used while seated.”

Now this is an intriguing idea. I could work, reduce my risk of car­di­ovas­cu­lar dis­ease and maybe shed a few pounds all at the same time. Sounds like a win-win situ­ation to me.

Now I won­der just how much one of those a tread­mill desks costs? And if I could actu­ally type while walk­ing?

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