Truly an Athletic-Minded office
For most us, spending 6-10 hours a day glued to an office chair is the norm. Whether we're hunched over a computer, sitting through board meetings or enduring long conference calls our movement is somewhat limited. Even for the active individual this adds up to a LOT of time spent in "park," despite our healthy pursuits outside of work.
Enter Dr. James Levine, an Endocrinologist at Mayo Clinic who spent the last decade researching human energy expenditure in daily activities and its correlation to obesity. His findings revealed that while exercise is important, the amount of energy we expend in our everyday activities plays a larger role in our overall health. Specifically, due to our sedentary work environments Levine claims that even lean individuals can "store up to a month's worth of energy in adipose tissue," (also known as fat). The cumulative effect of this energy imbalance can lead to significant weight gain and even obesity.
Dr. Levine's solution to the inert workplace was to build a fully functional desk around a treadmill, allowing an individual to perform their regular tasks while walking at a pace of only 1mph. Maintaining continuous movement over the course of a standard 8-hour work day resulted in an expenditure of up to 800 calories. Levine projected that using the treadmill desk at work could lead to weight loss of up to 57lbs per year (assuming caloric intake remained consistent). Additionally, constant levels of activity help to combat the mid-afternoon energy slump, which is when we're most likely to reach for unhealthy snack choices.
While the desks are still relatively expensive (about $1000 each), they're only half the price of a standard office cubicle. And since everything you need is built onto the platform, your office would require no other furniture. While initial setup costs may sting a bit, the long-term benefits such as healthier employees and increased productivity are well worth the price.
But here's the real question? Do people actually use these things???? Apparently some do. In fact, many inspired walkers have built their own treadmill work stations. There are even blogs devoted to helping people configure their stations.
So if you are thinking this may be something that would work for you, there is a whole community of "walking while working" people out there!