Sitting, of all things, has been a big one in the news in recent years. As strange as that may sound, it’s not without reason. Many people these days work desk jobs, where they may be sitting for upwards of 8 hours looking at a computer, and it’s really starting to take a toll! Sitting all day for work has been linked to pelvic stress, back pain, neck damage, plus muscle and bone loss, along with a whole other suite of issues too long to rattle off. Buying a standing desk has been the solution for many, but it’s not like they really get you moving; I mean, you’re just sort of standing there.
The logical next step is, of course, to buy a treadmill desk. Which, as a young(ish) guy worried about my health in the future, is precisely what I did! It was a bit pricy (I got a LifeSpan TR1200 for $1300) but I consider it a small price to considering I’ve had an old man back since I was a teenager and really can’t afford to do more damage to it.
Conveniently, I am a writer and a bit of a health nut, and this gave me the perfect opportunity to combine both of those things! I decided I would give it a try for around a month, then try to give some of the pros and cons from my first impression. I was a bit worried about what everybody in the ____ office would think of me setting up semi-permanent exercise equipment in the middle of the room. Would I be a huge distraction? Turns out I would be- for about a week anyways, but eventually the hubbub wore off and now everybody sort of goes on with their work. It’s a good idea to give a small warning though, instead of putting up a surprise treadmill- you’ll especially want to check in with your supervisor.
Some immediate struggles began to surface on my first day of using it. For one, it’s kind of hard to type and read while in motion. Everyone’s been bored on an exercise bike before and whipped out their phone before quickly realizing that the constant head bobbing wasn’t conducive to an easy Twitter experience. I adapted to this pretty quickly though; I just made the text on my computer a bit larger. After a while my typing was pretty much back to normal, as long as you adjust the desk to your stance it’s not too weird of a wrist angle. Plus, it’s not like you’re supposed to be going super fast either; I kept the treadmill on about 3 miles per hour for most of the day and was able to type fine. Another big one is that with the first few days of using it there were a lot of questions. Understandably, my coworkers were pretty curious about why there was a giant treadmill where my desk used to be, and why I would do such a thing. I don’t blame them, I’d be curious too, but I found it hard to get work done as efficiently while explaining the treadmill desk to everybody. Luckily, this only lasted for a few days. After that, everybody got accustomed to it and it was just another part of the office. All the cons that I experienced really were only temporary things that lasted a week, tops.
The benefits were surprisingly numerous. I mean, I had expected to lose a couple pounds, and maybe my back would feel a bit better at the end of the day, right? Straight from day one I noticed some crazy benefits. Firstly, I didn’t feel the slightest bit fatigued come 2 PM as per usual. You would think that exercise would tire you out faster, but really it does the opposite; it keeps you active and it keeps the blood flowing. Even if it was a bit slower to type at first, my productivity was better simply from not being tempted to sleep at my desk every day. Additionally, there’s not much in my life that wrecks my posture anymore. Sure, craning my neck over my phone on the [train/bus] isn’t great, but that’s only half an hour. When I come home from work my back and neck feel fantastic all because I wasn’t crouched at a desk for the whole work day. My posture has been noticeably better just in general (even on the weekend!) from working at my treadmill desk. I also didn’t realize how much stress I had about the toll that sitting all day was taking on my body. Ailments like heart disease and diabetes run in my family, and I don’t want to make it any easier for them to sneak up on me. I realized that I had a twinge of guilt about sitting all day, and I just ignored it because sitting all day is just what we do and have done. By using my treadmill desk, I no longer feel like I’m sacrificing my health for my career.
To sum things up: I would absolutely recommend that you get a treadmill desk, but there are some stipulations to consider. First off, if your office permissive enough for you to set up a treadmill desk? Some offices are more cramped or run a tighter ship in general. You’ll really want to make sure it’s cool with your boss or won’t annoy your coworkers before you take the treadmill desk plunge. Secondly, is the cost prohibitive for you? They definitely aren’t cheap, but I feel that sitting all day was making enough of an impact on my health that it was a necessary purchase. If you can’t spend that much on a desk though, there’s no reason to live outside of your means; consider taking walks on breaks or doing desk exercises while you work in the interim. Once you’ve thought about these things, I really say go for it. My work days feel fantastic, my posture is good, and I even have been sleeping better. It’s amazing that such a small step can impact your life so profoundly.