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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

Walkstation from Steelcase

What if you could work out while you worked? What if by working out you could generate enough electricity to power your own computer and the computer of the coworker next to you. And what if you could do this without breaking a sweat?

I had this conversation with a client recently. We wondered how long it would take before movement and energy generation are combined to give workers  the opportunity to stay healthy and fit, reduce energy dependence on renewable resources and  transform the workplace.

The technology for such a workplace exists albeit in its infancy. We wrote about the Human Dynamo in this post and about the Walkstation in this post. Since humans can walk for long periods of time without much stress or injury and since research points to the need for human beings to move more than they do with sedentary desk jobs, it makes sense doesn’t it.

My client suggested a world in which we all have renewable battery packs that we can recharge simply by exercising. That way you could plug your renewable battery pack into just about any electronic device including your workplace computer and Walkstation/Human Dynamo bike.

Maybe in this scenario, workers  that exercise a great deal may get credits toward lower health insurance premiums.   Perhaps workers generate credits in their youth that store for when they are  and less able to move. But then again, walking on treadmill is fairly doable (even at low speeds) for most people. People with problems walking or exercising could earn energy credits in other ways.

I’m interested to hear what my readers think. What other changes do you see in the workplace of the future?

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The Walkstation
Image by Scoobyfoo via Flickr

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

It’s all over the web today…too much seat time can hurt your heart, increase your risk for cancer, obesity and diabetes, according to a study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Assn. Doctors from the Karolinska Institute and the Swedish School of Sport and Health conducted a study that shows that sitting too long, not just lack of exercise, can contribute to heart disease and other life threatening diseases.

Journalist, Michelle Fay Cortez, writes in “Sitting Is a Silent Killer, Swedish Medics Warn Couch Potatoes” from Bloomberg.com, “The more time people spend in a completely sedentary state, independent of the exercise they get at other times, the higher their risk of becoming obese, and developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer, the doctors wrote in an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The dangers are greater still for people who do little exercise as it is, the authors wrote.

While many people think of being sedentary as lacking in exercise, this is more accurately described as the time when the body’s muscles get no activity, the doctors said. They cited an Australian study showing that each extra hour women spent watching television boosted their risk of developing a group of heart complications known as metabolic syndrome by 26 percent, regardless of what exercise they took.”

Read entire article at Bloomberg here.

Unfortunately, most people I know, especially “knowledge workers” have jobs that require us to sit for hours behind a computer.  So, what do you do? Tell your boss, hey, my job is killing me? Not likely. However, many workplaces are responding to such studies with Walk at Work programs. Or allowing staff to go to yoga or other workout classes at lunch. Or providing yoga classes or personal training sessions at work. Some companies provide employees with desks that move up and down to allow for standing. Some very progressive companies use Walk Stations for employees to walk while they work on their computers. Other companies provide regular massage to help increase circulation to your muscles. Massage therapists also provide stretches for sedentary employees.

How to Add More Movement to Your Work Day

You can incorporate more movement and less sitting into your workday yourself with these simple ideas:

1. Take the stairs when you can versus an elevator.

2. Walk up or down a few flights of stairs for a 5-minute break every few hours.

3. Do jumping jacks at your desk or, if that embarrasses you, in the restroom.

4. Do squats at your desk. Simply stand up, then barely sit, then stand, then barely sit. Repeat 5 or 10 times.

5. Do side bends at your desk. Do 3 sets on each side and hold each “bend” for 15 seconds.

6. Stand up, take a few deep breathes, then reach for the ceiling, inhale, exhale and sit down again.

7. Stand up and do arm circles.

8. Walk around the office-take a few laps!

9. Stand at your desk when you are on the phone. March in place for extra points!

10. Drink water at your desk in a sport bottle to keep the water cool and prevent spills. If you drink about 20 ounces every few hours your bladder will create a natural timer for you to get up and take a break!

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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

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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