Treadmill Desks

As far as I know, I was the first person to have a treadmill desk. I wanted to be able to stand more easily. I had found that if I stand a lot I sleep better. I reasoned it might be easier to stand a long time if you are walking than if you are standing still.

Treadmill desks are now becoming mildly popular, the New York Times reports. I had nothing to do with this. They were popularized by James Levine, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist, who believes that calorie burning is a good way to lose weight. I used my treadmill desk for a few years. There were two big problems: 1. The noise bothered my neighbors. The Times article says these desks tend to be placed in common areas, where that would be less of a problem. 2. It was tiring. After one or two years I mainly stood on it and rarely walked on it. Finally I replaced it with a standing-height desk.

The article describes non-weight-loss benefits: Walking makes it easier to concentrate.

“I thought it was ridiculous until I tried it,” said Ms. Krivosha, 49, a partner in the law firm of Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand.

Ms. Krivosha said it is tempting to become distracted during conference calls, but when she is exercising, she listens more intently.

“Walking just takes care of the A.D.D. part,” she said.

Allen Neuringer, a professor of mine at Reed College, found that movement helped him learn. I think an urge to be active builds up during inactivity just as thirst builds up when we don’t drink. Being able to be active while you work gets rid of that distraction — and no doubt is healthier in other ways than sitting all day. I would like to be able to use a computer while I am free to move around the room (or larger spaces) and move my arms, not just walk forward with my hands on the keyboard. I’d like to be able to write this blog post while strolling through my neighborhood, for example.

Thanks to Marian Lizzi.

11 Responses to “Treadmill Desks”

  1. SusanJ Says:

    You could “write” while strolling by using a voice recorder and either have someone else transcribe it or use software such as Express Scribe to ease the process of transcribing it yourself.

  2. seth Says:

    When I write I do a lot of revising. And I like to see what I’ve written.

  3. Patrik Says:

    They were popularized by James Levine, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist, who believes that calorie burning is a good way to lose weight.

    Levine should read Taubes. While exercise is certainly fun/healthy and may reduce insulin resistance, it does induce greater hunger — demolishing the cal in, cal out fallacy.

  4. Aaron Blaisdell Says:

    This post reminded me of the David Premack’s research that led to the idea of behavioral bliss points.

  5. Beth Says:

    Patrik should refer to Levine’s extensive research on NEAT.

  6. Kevin Maloney Says:

    If this interests you, then you should also check out the deltabalance.com website, where you can see a very interesting take on the stand-up desk that keeps you moving without the mechanics of a treadmill. When you think about many of the ills of our present culture, chairs are probably one of our downfalls.

  7. Adam Says:

    Treadmill desk may be fun at the start but as time progress you just simply want to do the treadmill first then do your work after or vice versa. Honestly can you enjoy doing treadmills while your fingers are tapping away those keyboard keys, not to mention how about using your mouse?

    In some form of exercise maybe you can combine work with exercise but honestly using a treadmill and doing your work, not to mention having those low cost treadmills that don’t give proper stability while walking or jogging.

  8. Jeff Winkler Says:

    The books Brain Rules (Medina,2008) and Spark(Ratey,2008) get into this. Basically, more exercise=more oxygen to the brain, increased neuroplasticity, memory consolidation and BDNF.
    A quick summary from Dr. John Medina – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ck-tQt0S0Os

  9. Sarah Toms Says:

    Seth,

    A treadmill desk? That reminds me of an exercise vest! http://www.hyperwear.com My girlfriend has been telling me about this for months now. I might check out your treadmill desk. I’m young and want to stay really nice and fit! hehe

    Sarah

  10. Exercise Ball Says:

    I’ve heard of using exercise balls at your desk as a chair, but this treadmill desk idea has never crossed my mind! I think I’d try it though, but not with my pumps! I can’t believe its said to help you concentrate! CRAZY!

  11. jeff Says:

    While working you can have a fitness workout using a treadmill desk, this is quite unusual but is worth a try. There are people who can think better if they are moving, and there are also people who simply can not concentrate while walking. A treadmill desk is designed to have a minimal workout even while working. It is very beneficial for people who are very busy and can not find time to go out for an exercise. It is true that sitting all day long will give you better fat deposits, you will be happy with it.