Treadmill Desks: What They're Really Like

Health benefits greatly outweigh the occasional coffee spill

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted May 13, 2013 7:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – Sitting while reading this? That's too bad, because sitting for hours every day is known to be unhealthy and walking on a treadmill desk is quite a gas, writes Susan Orlean at the New Yorker. A treadmill desk, or "walking workstation," is simply a treadmill under a standing desk that runs at about a mile an hour, giving you moderate exercise while you work. Coffee-drinking "is a known hazard," Orlean admits, and walking too fast can make you gasp during phone calls and "lend the conversation a desperate quality." But she still loves walking while she works.

Plus she knows the downside: that even two hours of sitting can eventually weaken insulin effectiveness, leading to cancer, depression, cardiovascular problems, and diabetes, according to researchers. And sudden bursts of exercise at the gym won't counteract that. So treadmill desk companies like TreadDesk and TrekDesk are cropping up, corporations like Google and Aetna are offering them to workers, and people are making their own cheaply with old treadmills. The biggest problem with working on one? "The compulsion to announce constantly that you are working at a treadmill desk," writes Orlean. Click for her full article.

A customer uses a treadmill desk by TreadDesk.
A customer uses a treadmill desk by TreadDesk.   (TreadDesk)
A treadmill in action.
A treadmill in action.   (Shutterstock)
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