November 21, 2012

Walking While We Work

All right, so on December 5, 2011, redOrbit reported about how one company was using treadmill desks to improve employee health and productivity although the main focus was on employee health. Well, apparently this trend has caught on as NPR reported about these exercise desks on Monday, November 19, 2012. Morning Edition reporter Patti Neighmond added her personal touch as she discussed her own experiences with her personal treadmill desk.

Both redOrbit and NPR discussed the origins of the treadmill desk as coming from Mayo Clinic doctor and obesity expert James Levine. Dr. Levine found that healthier, leaner individuals burned an average of 350 more calories per a day because they were not as sedentary. So he created the treadmill desk so that people could work and exercise at the same time. Brilliant!

NPR discussed how individuals thought they could just jump on the treadmill and walk at a slow pace for hours at a time. Levine said, “Don’t do that,” and suggested that people walk at a slow pace for no more than half-hour on then half-hour off. This would allow people to rest and not be so weary.

Many people have the misconception that walking, even at a slow pace, is easy. Sure, in comparison to a triathlon, walking is far easier, but it is not so simple that it won’t wear a person out. Yes, walking is better than being sedentary, but walking constantly is bad especially if one is just starting to exercise. At the inception of exercise, we must start low, set a pace. We must build our muscles and endurance up; we can’t just jump right into walking constantly. Of course, the idea behind the treadmill desk is to walk at a pace that doesn’t interfere with work. Running is not the goal, but slow-paced walking can still help.

I think, ultimately, that’s the number one reason I like the idea of treadmill desks. People can walk at 1.5-2.0 miles per hour, a very easy pace, and work at the same time. True, they will have to figure out what activities they can do while walking even slowly, but once they figure out a pattern, they will be able to schedule their days so that they can utilize the treadmill desk for both health and work efficiency. I think this is amazing and am in full support of this new piece of health equipment.

One of the biggest excuses people in my life give for not exercising is that they just cannot find the time to do it. Between work responsibilities and family responsibilities, they just can’t see when to fit in exercise. Naturally, I am sympathetic, but I also realize that my friends and family and co-workers who use this excuse are simply overlooking opportunities. However, with a treadmill desk comes no more excuses. These individuals could incorporate exercise at work, while working. They don’t have to give up personal, family time to exercise. It becomes a part of the work routine. Yep, that’s a win.

And if cost is an issue, interested individuals can even create their own treadmill desk instead of purchasing a premade one. Even then, though, one can find highly affordable treadmill desks for about the same price as a regular treadmill. This just sounds like such a great option for many individuals.

Naturally, if we walk more, we will be healthier. Not only is there a possibility of weight loss, but also heart health benefits as well as better circulation. The obvious way is to just walk around more while at work. Take ten minutes every hour to run office errands, talking to people, delivering information, just stepping out and up from the desk. But if this is not enough, then perhaps investing in a treadmill desk is best. This would definitely support a healthy work environment.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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