A treadmill desk for the home office

A treadmill desk for the home office

Sitting is bad

You may have already heard the saying “Sitting is the new smoking”.

A brief internet search reveals a lot of scientific papers supporting this statement.[1]
But there is also evidence that it is actually not that bad compared to smoking.[2]
All this research has in common, that extended sitting is bad nevertheless.

To find a remedy

So, what can we, as developers, do about that?
The usual advice is to get up and have a walk or to go jogging.
While this is certainly a good piece of advice, it is at the same time not practical when you have to spent most of the working day in front of a screen.
Our body simply isn’t designed for this extended amount of sitting, and we need a way to combine work and healthy activities.
And here is the solution I apply while working from home:

What you see here is a so called Walkingpad which you can easily incorporate below your desk.
Now, this requires a height adjustable desk in the first place 😉[3] 

This Walkingpad is foldable, so it is space-saving if you want to sit occasionally:

You may ask: what is the typing experience while walking?
I am a touch typer since one year and I have no problems with walking speeds between 1.5 and 3.5 km/h. It took me round about one week to get used to it.
One nice effect is that your brain has to learn something new, and this contributes to neural plasticity.

Health benefits

I won’t discuss the pros and cons of this Walkingpad, since there are so many on the market, that you can easily search for models that fit to your needs.
Instead, let me focus on the health aspects and what has changed for me since I’m using it.

Being able to walk while working has literally changed my life!

  • I’ve lost 9 kg within 3 months, albeit being in an already fit condition
  • Back pain reduced to almost zero
  • A better mood, I feel more balanced
  • Stress bothers me less
  • I have become more productive
  • My mind is more focused, especially in the morning
  • Over time, I managed to take 15000 steps on average

While I cannot guarantee that these effects will apply for you too, I still recommend that you give such a treadmill desk a try.

What about the regular office?

Before you are getting too enthusiastic and want to install it at your regular working place, consider this:

  • Checkout the noise level of your treadmill desk. Be aware that after some time, you are tempted to increase the speed which in turn will most likely increase the noise level too. Not all of your colleagues are eager to wear a headset all day.
  • Walking on a treadmill desk might look like a jumping jack for some of your sitting colleagues. Don’t stress them out!
  • How do you handle the electricity cost?
  • You most likely have to adhere to some security and insurance constraints. Check them out too before installing anything at your desk.

Conclusion

Even as a professional software developer, it is not a god-given that your health declines steadily because of office work.
If you want to do something about it during working hours, then trying out a treadmill desk is one of the best options you have.
We owe it to our bodies to do something good for them once in a while, because they will pay us back in abundance!

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