Does a Desk Treadmill Actually Improve Health?
It’s no secret that sitting too long throughout the day, even if you exercise regularly, is bad for your health. Sitting has been referred to as the new smoking because it may lead to serious health issues, such as heart disease, cancer, obesity and vascular problems. It may also cause aches and pains, a bad mood and poor productivity.
Many of us have desk jobs, so it seems like we have no choice but to sit most of the day. But what if we had an option that allowed us to get our work done without being glued to a chair?
Enter the under-desk treadmill.
These stream-lined walking pads have increased in popularity as a way to combat the constant sitting we do, especially when working from home. The devices aren’t designed to take the place of a traditional workout, but can be a huge help in keeping you moving throughout the day.
If you’re wondering if a desk treadmill is worth investing in, consider some of the benefits it may offer:
- You’ll get your steps in. Although you can’t walk too fast while working, the steps really add up over the course of the day. Keep speeds to 2 mph or less when reading, writing or using your computer. You may be able to walk faster when on the phone or during meetings.
- You’ll feel more energized. Ever notice how tired you feel when sitting for long stretches? Walking, even slowly, may help you get through morning tiredness and afternoon slumps. Endorphins released during exercise have also been shown to boost mood and lower anxiety.
- You may be more productive. Although productivity may decrease slightly as you get used to working while on a desk treadmill, a study from the University of Minnesota showed that work quality, mental performance and time management all improved when employees moved more.
- You may be less stressed. One great way to combat stress is to exercise. By walking while on the job, you may find that you’re better able to manage the pressures of work. This can improve your mental and physical health.
- It may help you lose weight. You’ll burn more calories walking slowly than you will sitting. One study showed that obese people who walked at a pace of 1 mph burned an extra 100 calories per hour.
- It may improve health issues. Exercise may lower blood glucose levels and blood pressure. It may lessen pain caused by stiffness and inflammation. Since walking is a weight-bearing exercise, it helps maintain bone density. It may also help prevent obesity, which can make you healthier overall.
If you decide to try a desk treadmill, there are many options to choose from. For those who don’t want to walk, there are also under-desk bikes. Even just standing while working instead of sitting offers health benefits.
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Date Last Reviewed: December 9, 2022
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Andrew Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS