Yesterday I read an article in my local newspaper called “Office Uprising” written by columnist Kevin Joy. Offices here in the surrounding area are turning to “standing” desks for employees and “treadmill” desks. They are increasing productivity and stopping the 2 or 3 o’clock slump. I remember getting extremely sleepy in the afternoons when I worked at a full-time desk job. Wintertime was the worst. Trapped inside a tiny office (or for some people a cubicle) sitting at a desk and staring at a monitor all day is bound to take a toll. With offices having email and instant messaging, even walking to talk to another employee has become almost non-existent. So I was thrilled to see that businesses are looking at alternate ways to create healthy workplaces.
According to Kevin, a local health-care giant added two treadmill workstations equipped with a phone and computer. Twenty people paricipated in a six-month study and the results were very positive. Enough so that the stations are staying and will be available to any of the company’s employees in the future.
I was amazed to learn from the article that using mucles helps the body pump glucose from the bloodstream convert bad cholesterol into good cholesterol. Sitting for long periods decreases that by about 95%!! That encourages me to continue with my treadmill writing and also shed light on why my cholesterol levels might have grown to levels of needing medication while I was working full-time. Since making my treadmill serve as a portable desk to do my writing, I’ve benefitted from being more creative and also healthwise. I hope to one day get off cholesterol and high blood-pressure meds.
I like being able to remove the desk portion to do a more serious workout, too. I’ve seen treadmill desks that cost a lot of money, so I’m very blessed that my husband was able to build my desk for less than $20. Some of my author friends have purchased stationary bicycle desks.
My treadmill desk can serve as just a standing desk for the times when I’m editing. I’m still burning more calories because standing burns 50% more calories than sitting! I don’t walk at a high rate of speed when I’m writing. I set the speed at 2.0 mph. When the treadmill is running it creates a kind of “white noise” that helps drown out other distractions. I do keep my phone on the book rest, so if an important call comes through I can get it…and still keep walking. The biggest drawback is my treadmill shuts down after 99 minutes. Sometimes I want to walk longer, so I have to write down time and miles before resetting it since I like to track daily results against word count.
I hope if you spend long hours sitting that you’ll be encouraged to get up and move, or just stand while you’re talking on the phone. You don’t have to have a treadmill! Purchase risers for your computer monitor and keyboard that will allow you to stand at your desk while you work on your computer. The long-term health benefits will be worth it!