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?