Why not move instead of standing? Here are some fascinating facts about treadmill desks.
Standing desks can be a great way to start sitting less throughout the day while working, but research shows us that movement and exercise is the real way to achieve greater health and better well-being.
That’s where the idea of treadmill desks comes in. While standing desks have become very popular in recent years, treadmill desks have gained in popularity as well, but still lack the awareness of sit-stand desks.
However, proponents claim that walking during the workday can have profound effects on the way you feel.
Some research suggests that they may be right, which is why this article covers 5 fascinating facts about treadmill desks.
#1 There are Lots of Types of Treadmill Desks
Treadmill desks haven’t been around very long with the first models appearing close to 30 years ago.
Nathan Edelson is the first known person who thought of a treadmill desk. Furthermore, he was the first person to publish peer-reviewed articles on the topic.
His invention was a portable and lightweight desk that worked with treadmills and he patented it in 1993.
After several prototypes and concepts, the treadmill desk has developed into three primary types of treadmill desks.
When you think of a treadmill desk, you may automatically think of one of the three types, but knowing them can help you make a decision on which one can give you the best benefits for the least cost or hassle.
Desk and Treadmill Separately:
The original design by Edelson is the first type: a desk that is designed to work with an existing treadmill.
That means that it is a standing desk that can accommodate a full-size walking treadmill underneath.
This makes it easy to mix and match or simply work while you are using a treadmill that you already have.
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For some people, this simply makes sense and is the most affordable option.
The second type is called an under-desk treadmill because it does not include the desk itself but merely fits underneath most standing desks.
They are compact and easy to take to the office with you.
Plus, it makes it easy to move it when you simply want to stand or sit and then move it back when you feel like walking and getting more exercise. This adds flexibility to some of the other options.
Desk and a Treadmill built together:
Finally, the third type is a desk and a treadmill built together, which means that they are made to work synergistically together.
They may also match style, size, and shape, which can be convenient. This is probably what you think of when you think of a walking or treadmill desk and can be a great addition to an office, home, or elsewhere.
Now that you know the types of treadmill desks, you can see how they can benefit you and your health.
#2 Treadmill Desks Could Boost Productivity
There are some studies on the benefits of standing desks to work habits, routines, and productivity.
One study on staffers at a financial services company found that there was a decrease in performance for the first few months of using the treadmill desks.
By the end of the study, they had exceeded “baseline goals” showing some improvement in quality of work, productivity, or both.
While the study was quite small, many proponents of treadmill desks claim similar results for their subjective productivity.
It is important to note, though, that there are also studies that show the opposite result, at least when it comes to typing speed.
Between sitting, standing, walking, and cycling, researchers found that completing computer tasks was slow with movement, but unchanged with simply standing.
Mouse use and typing were the only aspects studied, however.
The discrepancy may be because it is harder to type and use a mouse while walking.
Your cognition and thinking processes or even memory could be enhanced by the activity, which would lead to contrasting effects that could end up being wholly positive like in the first study.
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Furthermore, another study shows that the negative impact on typing speed may not exist if you are walking on a treadmill at your desk within the right parameters.
The study measured typing speed with different speeds of walking from .8 miles per hour to 2 miles per hour. It also compared those results to sitting still.
Walking did impede typing speeds at .8 and 2 mph, but not at 1.4 mph.
So the key to getting productivity out of a walking or treadmill desk may be to do so at a comfortable speed that does not offer as much distraction, especially from typing and using a mouse.
One other thing to point out is that you can save a lot of time by using a treadmill desk because you may not have to work out every day after finishing the work day.
This can save you extra time to put in a little extra work, participate in hobbies, sleep to get more productive the next day or do anything else you want with your extra time.
However, we do still recommend regular exercise regardless, but if you are walking a few miles a day during work you may not require as much.
#3 Treadmill Desks May Help You Lose Weight
Walking burns more calories than sitting or standing still, so it makes sense that using a treadmill desk could help you lose weight by shedding off some of the calories you ate during your lunch hour.
This can also reduce the risk of obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other serious ailments.
When you are using a treadmill desk, you are probably walking somewhere between 1 and 2 mph.
Simply doing that only part of the day every day can lead to rapid weight loss compared with only sitting or standing during the day.
It can help you burn hundreds of extra calories a day, so as long as you don’t simply eat more or stop exercising that you were originally doing outside of work, then the change could be significant.
About an hour of moderate-intensity walking on your treadmill desk can help you burn 200 to 300 calories.
That means you could lose about a pound a week if you only do this a couple of hours each day, which is pretty easy for most people considering you have the opportunity to use the treadmill desk probably 6 hours or more every day if you work a desk job.
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Plus, a lot of treadmill desks have different settings to make you work even harder.
You can use resistance or inclines to make it tougher or simply up the speed during times when you are in a meeting or don’t have to use your keyboard or mouse.
The possibilities are endless for you to achieve your weight loss goals while still staying on your boss’s good side.
Plus it can help you reach your daily step goal of 10,000 steps quite easily.
In fact, you can likely reach your goal within about 3 hours of using a treadmill, which means that all that other walking is just extra to add on to the top and help you achieve your calorie and weight loss goals.
#4 A Treadmill Desk Might Make You Happier
First, exercise in general is really good for your mental health and well-being.
It helps to produce feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters that can put a smile on your face like endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin.
Plus, it can also help you have more energy despite working harder physically during the day.
However, it also goes deeper than that.
One study shows that people who use treadmills during the work day may have higher satisfaction and pleasure from their work.
They appeared to be less bored, less stressed, and more aroused and energetic than their sitting and sedentary counterparts.
Even when compared to stationary bike desks, treadmill usage seemed to enhance well-being and happiness levels.
#5 A Treadmill Desk Can Boost Your Creativity
If you have a creative job, then you know that sometimes it can be hard to get in the flow.
You may have your habits and techniques to spark creativity like grabbing a coffee, going for a short walk, brainstorming, or simply taking a break.
The good news is that a treadmill or walking desk may have similar benefits.
A research study conducted by Stanford University had participants complete tests where they had to use their innate creativity to come up with alternative uses for common objects.
The volunteers did these tasks while they were on a treadmill walking at a comfortable pace.
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Almost every participant did better when they were on a treadmill than when they were stationary and sedentary.
They came up with 60% more uses on average when they were using a treadmill.
The reason for the improvements is not fully understood, but it could be related to the influence exercise has on brain chemistry and health.
It may help cognition to clear away brain fog by boosting acetylcholine and other compounds found within our cerebral system.
Whatever the reason, it is certainly worth a shot to get you out of writer’s block or simply to give you the edge on creative projects.
Well, there you have it, 5 fascinating facts about treadmill desks that should make you want to give them a shot.
They can keep you happy, productive, and at a healthy weight without ever having to go to the gym. Just make sure you get the right type for your needs