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The Treadmill Desk — Ultimate Multitasking?

SaloLLC/NPR

Work, and workout, at the same time? Can be done, and it might help both you and your employer.

Say hello to the treadmill desk, combining exercise and, sometimes, employment. This particular photo was taken at Salo.a Minnesota financial consulting company. Minnesota is also home to the Mayo Clinic, which sponsored a six month study on the desks. How well did the system work? Well, the director of operations at Salo says he’s dropped 25 pounds, and the company reported record earnings!

Patti Neighmond, a reporter for National Public Radio, decided to try a treadmill desk. First, she converted her regular desk into a stand-up desk. Then, she got herself used to working on her feet. Finally, she installed a treadmill without handrails under her stand-up desk. Neighmond says she walks at a comfortable rate [about one-and-a-half miles per hour] for 30 minutes, then uses a regular desk for a half-hour.She alternates between the two for two – three hours a day. That’s just right according to Dr. James Levine, who came up with the idea of treadmill desks. Levine, an obesity expert at the Mayo Clinic, believes working people need to move more, so they can avoid heart disease, diabetes, and other ailments caused in part by a sedentary lifestyle.

Is a treadmill desk for you? As always, you need  to discuss it with your doctor. If s/he thinks it’s a good idea, there’s the question of cost [treadmill desks cost several hundred dollars, though they can reportedly be built by the handy for less than $40 (plus the cost of a treadmill)].The health benefits seem to be real, the improved productivity is acknowledged, so perhaps it’s time to try a treadmill desk.

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