March 2015

One of the questions I hear quite often is related to treadmill desks. Treadmill desks have been trendier lately, hence the increased visibility and interest.


So is it worth purchasing one?


My typical answer is that it depends on your circumstance and task:

  1. What are your goals for your treadmill desk?
  2. What tasks do you expect to do while walking at the desk? 
  3. Are you a large company or small company?

When Texting While Walking Goes Wrong - Funny Accidents and Fails

These things matter and here's why:


Not too long ago, there was a lot of talk around texting and walking with a surfeit of funny video clips of comical accidents related to the lack of attention to the actual walk: here's a compilation sample.


The texting fails speak to my first question.


What are your goals for your treadmill desk?


Focusing on only one thing at a time will significantly improve your performance at either task. If your goal is to exercise, then separate that out and designate a time to exercise. If your goal is to work, then do that separately as well. Which leads me to my second question.

  If you must try to combine the two, then what are your expectations regarding tasks?
"Working" or "Working Out" on the Treadmill?

I recently came across a wonderful article on cognitive performance on a treadmill.* The article speaks to the complex, multi-dimensional cognitive demands necessary to control the process of maintaining stability during walking. Think of the brain like a battery: if you shunt brain battery power to control walking, you will end up with reduced batter power for cognitive processes. Meaning, you will have less brainpower left to focus on whatever mental gymnastics relate to the actual job and task at hand. Which makes sense if you think about it: how many articles have you read about reduced focus while multi-tasking? Similar story here: and

the multi-tasking now spans a physical and mental component, with the same result. 


So what I usually say is this:  don't expect to focus while "working" on the treadmill.  If you are doing something light, or taking a long call, or anything else that doesn't require real focus, then the treadmill desk is a good option!  Manage your expectations of the treadmill desk: understand that it is really exercise, with a tiny bit of work thrown in for good measure. 
How can Ergonomics Help?
How to create a productive and successful environment

Which leads me to my third question: Are you a large company or small company? These desks are usually suited to larger companies who rotate usage through their employees because the desks are better suited to smaller time frames spent using them, not as a permanent desk solution.


Being smart about your ergonomics usually includes this type of reasoning. Our goal is to enable maximum health and efficiency, so that your body is healthy and brain function is optimized. Both of these goals then create an environment of productivity and success. Our company will protect and empower you to work healthy, and to be successful and productive for many years. It helps when your brain and your body are in sync!


We have worked with many different companies, and find that the right ergonomic approach depends on varying factors and is best when customized to the needs of the company. Call us anytime to discuss optimizing your health and productivity through ergonomics, and find out if treadmill desks are indeed the "right choice" for your company.

Sincerely

Shani Soloff

PT, MS, CFMT, CEAS1

 

The Posture People

107 Glenbrook Road

Stamford, CT 06902

917-923-5333 

shani@theposturepeople.net

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*Source: The interacting effect of cognitive and motor task demands on performance of gait, balance and cognition in young adults Tony Szturm a, *, Pramila Maharjan a , Jonathan J. Marotta b,1 , Barbara Shay a , Shiva Shrestha a , Vedant Sakhalkar a aDepartment of Physical Therapy, School of Medical Rehabilitation, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada bDepartment of Psychology, University of Manitoba, P310 Duff Roblin Bldg, Canada

 

Images courtesy of: lifespanfitness.com, youtube.com, npr.org, dailymail.co.uk

 

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