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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

For those that know me, I am a big fan of treadmill desks. However, up until recently the main treadmill desk available was the Walkstation, for $4400-$4900, from Steelcase. And that may be too hefty of a price tag for small offices and the self-employed. Now more options are lower prices have become available! I am posting some of the best user reviews and options I found to date.

 LifeSpan TR1200-DT Treadmill Desk from LifeSpan Fitness

LifeSpan TR1200-DT Treadmill Desk

Here are some of the more specific Amazon reviews on the LifeSpan TR1200-DT Treadmill Desk

Eclectic Teacher says this about the  LifeSpan TR1200-DT Treadmill Desk:

I type this as I walk at 2mph on the treadmill in my home office. The desk is a fairly solid, almost stupidly-simple to assemble, unit in five easy pieces (not counting nut’n’bolts). It’s not too hard to adjust to get it to the right height, though changing it regularly for multiple users would be a real pain. The controls at the front of the desk are fairly unobtrusive, quite intuitive, and quite literally easy enough for my five-year-old to use (he thinks it cool, and keeps asking to use it before school for five or ten minutes – he hops on, starts it up with me nearby, walks and trots for a little while, stops it, and says “thanks, dad.”)

The treadmill part comes totally preassembled, and you just have to unpack it and roll it into place. It seems to work just as you’d expect, and feels solid under my feet. It plugs into the desk with a really simple, only-one-possible-way to plug it together plug to connect it to the desk controls. The wires run almost entirely interior to the desk leg, an elegant solution. While in use, it’s very quiet.

My biggest annoyance is that it doesn’t plug into your computer via a USB or something to track your long-term progress, and if you pull the dead-man stop it resets all your mileage / time, etc.

Personally, I think 2.5 mph is great for just surfing the net. Two mph works for most typing. 1.5 mph is for drinking coffee and more serious typing, and about 1 mph for eating breakfast with a plate under it while surfing the web before the coffee kicks in.

Shelly.Daniels says “I was surprised how quickly you pick up the “feel” of walking while using the desk. When I first started I was walking at 1-1.4 mph and felt comfortable typing while walking. Now, 1.6 is comfortable for me…What has surprised me is how often this is now being used. This was bought just for me to be used in the office but we have found many other uses…I use it at night now on occasion to do my Facebook updates, recently it was where a good bit of my Christmas shopping was completed! ”

Shelley goes on to talk about the desk itself: The work surface allows me to comfortably stores my laptop, phone, folders, mouse and water bottle. The console was very smartly designed where it does not slide under the desk or sit on top of the desk like the others I looked at. One of my favorite parts is the built-in step counter…it is fun and VERY motivating to watch the steps add while you work or play. As mentioned earlier the treadmill is very quiet and have asked people while on speakerphone if they could hear the treadmill and they could not! The treadmill has 4 levelers to ensure that the desk is level and the desk is very solid and stable. I get no movement and vibration on the desk and assume that is because the treadmill and desk are not attached.

WorknMan “worknman”  brings up some issues about typing versus mousing on the Treadmill desk: From the very beginning, typing seemed very easy for me while walking on this thing. Unfortunately, mouse precision took a pretty serious hit. This probably won’t be a problem if you’re a typical office worker and/or spend most of your day typing. But if you do a lot of mousing (like me), this could be a problem. In my case, using the mouse while on the treadmill is getting easier over time as I get more used to it, plus it is forcing me to use shortcut keys more to save time, so I guess that can only be a good thing 🙂 When I first got the treadmill, I couldn’t go any faster than 0.5mph before I could no longer control the mouse. Now I’m up to 1.0, and I can go as fast as 1.5, depending on what I’m doing.

To order yours for about $1300, click here.

TrekDesk Treadmill Desk

TrekDesk Treadmill Desk

Another option is the TrekDesk Treadmill Desk by Trek, for about $480. However, Amazon reviewer say this desk is not adjustable, rattles and shakes and is of such poor quality it’s not worth it. Check out the desk and reviews here.

TreadDesk

TreadDesk

Another option is to simply add a treadmill, without handlebars to your existing desk set up. This may require you to add monitor risers to raise your monitor high enough to see it comfortable while standing. The TreadDesk is currently on back order, but at $840, this would be my first pick to retrofit an existing desk to a treadmill. The TreadDesk control panel sits on top of the desk and is attached to the Tread with a six-foot long wire. The control panel keeps track of distance, time, speed, calories burned and comes with an emergency shut off cord which should always be worn when using the TreadDesk. A rubber treadmill mat is also included with the purchase of each TreadDesk. If you want to read detailed user comments about the TreadDesk, click here.

Build Your Own Treadmill Desk

A cheaper option but far more labor intensive one is to build a treadmill desk yourself.  Jay Buster, an options trader, created a blog called Treadmill Desk. (Today, while walking on his Treadmill Desk, Jay manages a private investment fund which is involved in option and structured product arbitrage.) He writes this post, The $39 Treadmill Desk, to tell you how to build your own treadmill desk for $39 (minus the cost of the treadmill, natch!).

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Gentle exercise from EverydayHealth.com

The American Heart Association’s Start! initiative calls on all Americans and their employers to create a culture of physical activity and health to live longer, heart-healthy lives through walking. It offers resources for employers to implement a walking program in the workplace and track employees’ progress in the program. One of Start’s key components, National Start! Walking Day aims to get Americans up and moving for 30 minutes on April 8, 2009. National Start! Walking Day will take place during National Workplace Wellness Week.

Why walk?

There are countless physical activities out there, but walking has the lowest dropout rate of them all! It’s the simplest positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health. Research has shown that the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help you:
  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
  • Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Improve blood lipid profile
  • Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
  • Enhance mental well being
  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
  • Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes

There really are so many benefits for such a simple activity!

How To Begin a Walking Program

The AHA offers these steps to begin a walking regimen:
Step 1: Remember that your safety is the most important thing! If you’re a male over 40 or a female over 50, you may want to work with your doctor to set up your exercise program.
Step 2: Get familiar with the American Heart Association’s recommendations for physical activity:

  • Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activities, 5 days a week
  • Remember that physical activity can be accumulated throughout the day. Three 10-minute sessions is the same as one 30-minute session!
  • If you’re looking to lose weigh or maintain your current weight, aim for 60-90 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day

Step 3: Always measure the intensity of your exercise to know if you’re pushing yourself too hard or not hard enough. An easy way to do this is by taking the talk test:

  • You should be able to sing while working out at a light intensity level
  • If you’re exercising at a moderate intensity level, you should be able to carry on a conversation comfortably
  • If you become too winded or out of breath to carry on a conversation, the activity can be considered vigorous

You can also download this chart from the American College of Sports Medicine and Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which lists physical activities by their level of intensity. Happy trails!

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By Sue Shekut, Licensed Massage Therapist, ACSM Personal Trainer, Certified Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

Some times ago I blogged about the Walkstation from Steelcase. (Link here.) Now it looks like the idea of treadmills attached to desks is gathering steam–and coming down a bit in price. Read the excerpt from a article in Vocus/PRWEB.

Salt Lake City, UT (Vocus/PRWEB ) December 10, 2009 — A new research project for scientists at the University of Utah has been announced which will focus on a series of workplace wellness studies designed to test the effectiveness of walking slowly while working, utilizing a treadmill desk known as the TrekDesk.

Dr. Elizabeth Joy of the University of Utah

The first in a series of proposed studies will focus on damage caused in the workplace to employee’s spines. Eight out of ten Americans will suffer from back pain and injury at some point in their adult lives. The study will do a comparative analysis of spinal compression caused by office chairs versus the compression reducing qualities of walking.

“We evolved as a species to be upright. We have less loading actually of the joints and our back standing than we do sitting. We actually lubricate the joints in our lower extremities, in our hips, in our knees and our ankles through movement,” states lead scientist, Dr. Elizabeth Joy, Director, Utah Health Research Network (UHRN). Dr. Joy has an extensive background in workplace wellness issues and has long lobbied for the re-engineering of work environments to allow for more physical movement.

Treadmill desks are currently in use at many Fortune 500 companies and small businesses across America and have been shown effective in boosting energy, productivity, preventing disease, assisting in weight loss and restoring health.

Many employers faced with declining employee health and rising health care costs now see the need for a radical change in the workspace and a need for more healthy solutions. The current challenge for most employers is finding a solution that is affordable since treadmill desks may retail between $4,500 and $6,000.

A treadmill desk manufacturer based in Phoenix, AZ recently released the TrekDesk, which, priced at 1/10 the cost of comparable models, is the subject of many of the proposed studies. TrekDesk is a full sized, height adjustable workstation designed to attach to an existing treadmill.

“We are thrilled that the University recognizes the myriad health benefits of treadmill desks and are honored that the TrekDesk has been chosen for further study due to its affordability and design,” states Steve Bordley, CEO of TrekDesk. “With rising obesity rates and skyrocketing health care costs it is time to realize that the sedentary design of the workplace must be changed,” states Bordley, “once employers adopt measures to keep their employees moving during the day they will see a boost in productivity and a decrease in sick days and health care costs.”

Read the entire article in Vocus/PRWEB here.

Working Well Says: The TrekDesk is available from Amazon for about $479. However, this does not include the cost of the treadmill which can run another $380 on up. In addition, if you purchase the TrekDesk, you must make sure that whatever treadmill you buy to work with it can fit so that the treadmill display and handlebars can fit behind the desk not blocking your entry to the desk. Overall, we are happy to see the price of walkable workstations decreasing. $800-$1000 is lot less than the Steelcase Walkstations $4500 price tag!

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By Sue Shekut, Licensed Massage Therapist, ACSM Personal Trainer, Certified Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

By now, most of us have heard about the new recommended guidelines for adults under 65 to get at least 30 minutes a day of moderately intense cardio, five days a week. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) Guidelines here

However, many people have a hard time finding time to exercise after work with long commutes, family obligations and just maintaining the household. At work, people face deadlines, scores of emails, phone calls and piles of paperwork to address. One way for employers and employees to help keep health care costs down, reduce risks of illness, and help improve overall health and well being is to encourage employees to step up their steps!

According to Health Enhancement Systems’ report, Walking: The Health and Economic Impact, there’s no wellness investment that pays a higher dividend than a robust walking program. Here are just a few of the health-related findings specifically associated with walking:

• Protects against heart attack and stroke.
• Helps prevent weight gain.
• Reduces risk of diabetes.
• Lowers overall mortality.
• Decreases heart disease risk.
• Maintains a healthy BMI.
• Enhances fitness with little time or effort.

According to a Loughbrough University study, women who took three 10-minute brisk walks, 5 days a week, had nearly the same increases in fitness levels as women who walked continuously for 30 minutes. In fact, those who walked in briefer sessions lost more weight and inches around the waist than the 30-minute walkers! More here from Health Enhancement Systems

Why Walk?
• Walking is the only exercise where participation rates don’t decrease as
individuals reach middle age and older. One national survey found that
compared with any other group, men 65 and older had the highest percent
of regular walkers — 39.4%.14
• It’s the most popular physical activity in America. More than 56 million people
walk for fitness at least 100 days a year.15
• Walking is inexpensive and easy. All a person needs is a pair of comfortable,
supportive shoes.16
• It comes naturally and can be done in connection with other daily activities —
for example: walking to work, circling the mall or grocery aisles, walking
the dog, or pacing while on the phone.
• Walking is a low impact, safe form of exercise — even for those who are
obese or have arthritis.

How to Find Time to Walk at Work
Employers cannot mandate that employees walk at work. And we don’t encourage employees to shirk their work responsibilities to complete their walking goals. But many smokers take “smoke breaks” at work, leaving the office for 10-15 minutes to smoke a cigarette outdoors. Why shouldn’t the nonsmokers take advantage of a similar break in the work flow for a far healthier result!

And the lunch “hour” is also a great time to get coworkers together and take a brisk walk outside the office or at a nearby mall. Although some do not take a full hour for lunch, and others may want to split the lunch break up into 30 minutes of walking and then time to eat lunch, there are many ways you can fit in a walk a few times during the workweek lunch time.

• A simple plan would be to set up 3 ten-minute walk breaks inside the office building if there is enough space, or weather permitting outside the office.

• Alternatively, staff can set up 20-30 minute walk breaks at lunch time.

• And for those lucky few that take a train or bus or subway to work, try getting off a few blocks or even a half mile earlier than normal and then walk to your destination from there. it’s an easy way to add a few steps to your day and explore your own neighborhood.

Benefits of Walking at Work
Employers have found that allowing employees to take minibreaks leads to increased productivity and job satisfaction. According to Health Enhancement Solutions, walking, like other physical activity, employee productivity increases with physical activity. Findings include:
• Better concentration 1
• Enhanced memory and learning 2
• Improved ability to make complex decisions 1
• Increased physical stamina. 3, 4

Walking promotes an overall sense of wellness by helping people to:
• Control appetite and increase the body’s metabolism 5
• Improve mood and well-being 2, 4
• Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety 2
• Relax, feel more energetic, and control stress 4, 6
• Sleep better. 7, 8

Programs to Encourage People to Walk at Work
• Employers can encourage or even provide low cost pedometers to help staff monitor the steps they take every day. Recomended Top Ten Pedometers. The Sportline 360 Fitness Pedometer is $22 pedometer that’s easier to use, lightweight and clips on a belt or waistline of trowsers Order here
• Employers or Employees can start a Walking Club at work.

Walking Club Tips
• Spread the word – use email, voicemail and posters to get people interested
• Make it fun and make it friendly. Start slowly so that none of your co-workers are too intimidated to continue.
• Set a Walking club schedule so that it become part of your regular daily routine. Even if some people cannot commit to every day, make sure at least 2 of you keep up the schedule to maintain momentum.
• Encourage your colleagues to take walking breaks instead of coffee breaks in order to get some fresh air– and avoid problems sleeping alter at night due to too much caffeine.
• Promote a noon-hour walking group.
• Create an indoor walking route in case of poor weather – go to a local mall if your workspace is not conducive to walking. Walk the stairwells if your office is a high rise or building with access to stairs.
• Track your walking groups progress on a graph or poster in a main foyer to inspire others to join.
• Hold a contest or challenge between departments.
• Host a heart healthy nutritious potluck before or after your walking groups noon-hour walk.
• Ask your colleagues when they would prefer to walk. Some people need a “pick me up” in the morning while others require one in the later afternoon.

Link to the Health Unit of Canada’s tips on organizing a walking group at work

Research Cited:

1 Loehr J, Schwartz T. The Power of Full Engagement; New York, NY, 2003.
2 US Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Fundamental to Preventing
Disease Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, June 2002.
3 Murphy MH, Nevill AM, Murtagh EM, Holder RL. The Effect of Walking on Fitness, Fatness and
Resting Blood Pressure: A Meta-Analysis of Randomised, Controlled Trials. Preventive Medicine
2007;44(5):377-385.
4 Fentem PH. Benefits of Exercise in Health and Disease. British Medical Journal
1994;308(6939):1291-1295.

5 Cheng MH, Bushnell D, Cannon DT, Kern M. Appetite Regulation via Exercise Prior or
Subsequent to High-Fat Meal Consumption. Appetite 2009;52(1):193-198.
6 Puetz TW, Flowers SS, O’Connor PJ. A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effect of Aerobic
Exercise Training on Feelings of Energy and Fatigue in Sedentary Young Adults With Persistent
Fatigue. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 2008;77(3):167-174.
7 Galantino ML, Cannon N, Hoelker T, Iannaco J, Quinn L. Potential Benefits of Walking and Yoga
on Perceived Levels of Cognitive Decline and Persistent Fatigue in Women With Breast Cancer.
Rehabilitation Oncology 2007;25(3):3-16.
8 King AC, Pruitt LA, Woo S, Castro CM, Ahn DK, Vitiello MV, Woodward SH, Bliwise DL. Effects of Moderate-Intensity Exercise on Polysomnographic and Subjective Sleep Quality in Older Adults With Mild to Moderate Sleep Complaints. The Journals of Gerontology 2008;63A(9):997-1004.

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By Sue Shekut, Licensed Massage Therapist, ACSM Personal Trainer, Certified Wellness Coach, Owner, Working Well Massage

Sitting all day is tough on your back, neck and stress level. We hear news everyday about the benefits of exercise on our hearts, our waistlines and our mental processes. But many Americans have jobs that require us to sit long hours at computers or working at desks. If we can find time after work, some of us can squeeze in an hour or so working out at the gym a few days a week. But finding gym time is always not doable with busy schedules, long commutes and family obligations. What’s a stressed out office worker to do? Call Steelcase and order a new Walkstation treadmill so you can walk AND work…without leaving your office! Read more from this article by Shandra Martinez in The Seattle Times:

Burn while you earn: Desk treadmill keeps you walking at work

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Too busy working to work out?

Now you can burn calories while earning a paycheck with Steelcase’s new Walkstation, which merges a workstation with a treadmill.

Dr. James Levine on his Walkstation
The Walkstation.
DEBRA L. ROTHENBERG / FEATURE PHOTO SERVICE

The concept is based on the research of Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who has spent the past 15 years studying energy expended during daily activity.

“What we have done is taken science from the lab to a product that could potentially help millions and millions of people,” said Levine.

“I think it’s the next iPod. Everybody is going to want one.”

Designed to run at a maximum of 3.5 mph, the commercial-grade treadmill has a quiet motor and belt, Klipa said.

But don’t expect this workplace treadmill to make you break a sweat or provide a gym-style workout.

Yet even a slow stroll can improve a person’s health, said Steve Glass, professor of movement science and director of Grand Valley State University’s Human Performance Lab.

“How hard you work to burn calories isn’t as important as burning those calories, from the standpoint of long-term health,” said Glass, who is familiar with Levine’s work.

Levine’s research on Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (N.E.A.T.) concludes that a sedentary lifestyle is not natural. The key to fighting obesity and many other health problems is to keep people from spending their days deskbound.

“Over the last 150 years, we’ve become chair-imprisoned. We are behind a screen all day at work. We are in a car or bus getting to and from work. And in the evening, we are in a chair watching television or surfing the Internet,” Levine said. “We’ve gone from being on our legs all day to being on our bottoms all day.”

Steelcase's Walkstation

Levine does most of his research on his Walkstation. Sometimes, that can be as much as 90 hours a week. The 43-year-old’s longest stretch without stopping is 20 hours. The habit of walking a mile an hour while he works has made him sharper and reduced his need for sleep. “I’ve become incredibly focused on completing things,” said Levine, who has banned chairs from his office.

There are more benefits to the Workstation than losing weight. “People want to escape from work because it is stressful,” Levine said. “One of the key benefits to this approach to working is that it is de-stressing and depression prevention.”

Link to Shandra Martinez’s November 14, 2007 article in The Seattle Times, “Burn While You Earn”

Dr. Levin’s study of volunteers at SALO, LLC, a Minneapolis-based financial staffing firm, using the actual Walkstation showed that “Individuals lost an average of 8.8 pounds — 90 percent of that was fat. Triglycerides decreased by an average of 37 percent. no productivity was lost due to the new environment.”

The Walkstation retails for about $4500 and is available in a variety of colors and table sizes. For more information on Steelcase’s Walkstation, go to Steelcase’s website for the WalkStation

For more information on a six-month study from (late 2007 to early 2008) of a real-life office at SALO, LLC, a Minneapolis-based financial staffing firm, that was re-engineered to increase daily physical activity or NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) click here.

In addition to his research efforts at SALO, Dr. Levine and his colleagues in the NEAT (Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis) lab at Mayo Clinic have pioneered an “Office of the Future” — an office complete with treadmills that serve as both desks and computer platforms and a two-lane walking track that serves as a meeting room.

They created a Squidoo lens that focuses on real world implementations of the work of the NEAT Lab. Dr. Levine, along with Dr. Joseph Stirt (a doctor and a NEAT practitioner, having installed a treadmill computer desk in his home office) and Lensmaster Tom Niccum (with a treadmill computer desk–affectionately called “iPLod”–in his company office) hope to create a community of NEAT practitioners to spread the idea of “walking while working,” discuss the practicalities of setting up one’s workspace, and explore new ways to implement NEAT ideas through their Squidoo lens, Walking While Working.

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