Are Walking Desks a Bad Office Joke: Not so Fast

By Liz Joy

When KSL’s Nightside Project hosts Ethan Millard and Alex Kirry first heard about the tread mill desk it was easy for them to make fun of this new way to work. However, ask them now and they are telling a different story.

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A lot of new ideas sound crazy when we first hear them, and many are easy to poke fun at. Sending messages across thousands of miles in seconds once sounded absurd, but then the telegraph came along and changed the way we communicate. Flying thousands of miles across countries and oceans at one time seemed ridiculous, but then airplanes changed the way we travel.

When KSL’s Nightside Project hosts Ethan Millard and Alex Kirry first heard about the tread mill desk it was easy for them to make fun of this new way to work.

“It’s the easiest, biggest, fattest, juiciest target; the treadmill desk. It’s so easy to make fun of.” – Ethan Millard.

When the Salt Lake LiVe Well Center heard Ethan and Alex poking fun at the walking work station we invited them up to give it a try. Ethan shot a short video of him testing the treadmill desk and posted it to their Facebook page.

After visiting with Dr. Liz Joy and Dr. Scott Hansen about the health benefits of having a treadmill desk, Ethen had a change of opinion saying, “I totally want one now!”

The principle of the treadmill desk isn’t to get a work out, or lose weight, but to provide an alternative to sitting for a prolonged period of time. New research has shown that sitting can actually be as unhealthy as smoking. Sitting can have negative effects on our back, knees, shoulders, and the inactivity can lead to chronic conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.

Even if you are an active person after you get off work, the long hours of sitting still outweigh the exercise you get later in the day. The treadmill desk is one way to keep people from sitting for so long. But most offices aren’t going out to buy everyone a walking work station, so what can you do to avoid sitting all day?

• Take walking breaks. For every hour that you work, stand up and walk around for 2 to 3 minutes.

• Stand up at your desk while you are on a conference call or reading

• Use your lunch breaks to get some activity

• While sitting maintain a good posture to prevent back, shoulder, and neck pain.

You can listen to Ethan’s segment about the treadmill desk and the effects of siting here.