If you go back a few years and told someone the next big thing in the health and fitness arena would be getting in shape at work, while you actually work, they would have laughed at you. Are you talking about Gordon Gekko the highly strung big-time stock broker in the 1987 film Wall Street who had a treadmill in his office because he never left it? Not exactly, but yes there is definitely an office treadmill involved.
Who would have thought the health and safety executives would have allowed it, but now you can use a treadmill at work. Or more aptly a treadmill desk. The treadmill just comes as a flat deck and it slides right under your desk. You also get a small control panel that is not much bigger than a wallet that sits on your desk. You use it to control the speed and to switch it off.
There are a whole variety of desks that go along with the treadmill. You can stick with the treadmill manufacturer or go for a different brand. Or alternatively you can just use your own desk if it suits and is at the right height so you dont have to stoop over. A lot of the treadmill desks are custom designed so you can adjust the position up and down to achieve the optimal height. Not everyone is the same size in height so there can never be a one size fits all remedy.
Companies like Google and Apple have been leading the way by installing treadmill desks in their offices. But not everyone is a fan of them. Lots of people find them a distracting annoyance and others dont have the coordination or balance (or patience) to use them. Yet still others who like standing up whilst working are enamoured by them.
It is a matter of personal choice and the idea behind them is it gets you up out of your office chair and that greatly improves your posture and is a lot better for your back. One of the biggest sellers is of course the weight loss element. Walking will certainly burn up a lot more calories than sitting. You also can switch it off entirely, you dont actually have to use it all the time.
So whats it like compared to your average treadmill? Well naturally for safety reasons it goes a lot slower. It is designed for walking and not high speed. You cant drag it out from under your desk and take it for a galloping run. They also dont have incline functions. But that is not the point and a lot of research shows that walking is just as good for you as high intense training sessions.
So how much does one cost? Well Lifespan seem to be the current market leaders and they have the TR1200-DT5 but it costs $1500. Well it would be alright if you worked for a big tech company and they bought it for you. It certainly is cheaper than your average Weslo treadmill. This is a very cheap brand but it also sells in the bucket loads. It is not the most high-tec model in the world but they do sell them for $1200 cheaper than Lifespans treadmill desk.
If you dont work for one of these glamourous Silicone Valley type companies with their liberal office rules (pro-emancipation of its work force), would they be a wise investment to have at home if you have an office? Or what about for work at home moms or pops, will one of these be the answer to their cardio dreams?
Or would you rather buy a treadmill from Weslo that you could run on or buy something you can use at work- if you can actually use it in the first place, as not everyone it seems agrees with them. By the way you can see a full review of both models here (R5.2 & G5.9 from Weslo). They are the flagship from the company. So if you own a treadmill at home would this not be better? You can blast out on it whenever you wish, plus you can elevate the inline to burn more calories and get more of a fitness blast.
So the main principle is here you can work a normal treadmill better in a shorter period of time. Get in, get the workout done and then leave. Job done, or is it? Well there is no evidence to suggest that short workouts are any better for your health or for weight loss than doing something at a slow pace, like walking, or to put it more conveniently walking on a treadmill. A lot of people work long hours and dont get time to go for a walk or go to the gym. They may also have to commute up to 4 hours a day. Who wants to work out after that?
But is there a bigger issue here? Should health and fitness infiltrate the office space? Well employers are getting more attuned to the needs of their employees. Thousands of manpower hours are lost each year due to workers phoning in sick due to a bad back or ill health. Much of this has been linked to sitting all day and also stress. Using a treadmill at work may actually lower your stress.
Smart companies know that if they keep their workers happy productivity goes up. Thats why the best companies invest in their employees health and well-being. Lots of companies are now more family focused. Flexible working hours, crèches for kids, healthcare plans, are being implemented by some caring companies. This makes for a really great work environment, one where workers are actually happy to go to their jobs.
That is why some forward thinking corporations are giving treadmill desks a try. Will they catch on? That remains to be seen, but with some companies already providing in-house gyms in their buildings, it is a logical next step in the right direction.
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