The Hamster Wheel Desk

“Much has been made of the potential health risks of sitting at your desk all day, leading some to opt for a standing work surface. Now comes a walking desk that to keep your body not only upright, but moving. The folks at Autodesk’s Pier 9 fabrication facility in San Francisco have developed something even a step beyond a treadmill, the circular hamster wheel, minus the spokes,” CBS San Francisco reports.

“The product was created using Autodesk design tools. The structure took about 24 hours to construct. They’ve even offered instructions on how to design and build your own on the instructables website.”

Smart Desks Keep You Moving

The New York Times reports that a “new batch of so-called smart desks can monitor your movements, track your calories and even nudge you to stand up at various intervals throughout the day without interruption or loss of concentration.”

“The reason to buy a smart desk is because you, like most Americans, discover you are sitting your life away. Sitting for more than three hours a day can shave our life expectancy by two years — even if we exercise regularly.”

“One solution is to get up and move several times a day, and that’s where a standing desk comes in. But shop wisely. About 70 percent of people who buy a traditional sit-stand desk don’t move it out of the sitting position after the novelty wears off, typically in a few weeks, according to industry research. I learned that I was far more likely to take advantage of the standing feature if the desk automatically made me do it. (No manual hand crank for me.)”

“While I preferred the sit-stand models over the treadmill model, I also learned the hard way that a desk sitter can’t be transformed into a stander overnight. It’s a rookie mistake to stand for hours at a time when you get your first sit-stand desk, and if you overdo it, you may end up like me, slumped in a chair at day’s end nursing sore feet, a strained back and aching joints. Experts recommend that those new to a sit-stand desk start by standing just five to 20 minutes each hour and working up from there.”

“Ultimately, choosing a standing desk is no different from picking any large furnishing, with budget and space the main considerations. But you should also consider that, as with any piece of furniture, you could have it for life — which may be a little longer now that you are not sitting all day.”

The Case for Treadmill Workstations

“Outside of a career change, is there anything you can do to reduce your chair time and increase your activity level? You might talk to your boss about installing a treadmill workstation, allowing you to do your work standing on a slow-moving treadmill,” Consumer Affairs reports.

“These workstations have been shown to help employees increase their activity level and burn more calories. But on your company’s tight budget, how can you convince your supervisor that this workstation is worth the investment?”

“You might start by telling them about a new study by researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington, the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota. The researchers suggest that employees who use these workstations not only benefit from improved health but the company benefits from improved productivity.”

“Desk-bound employees at a financial services company were enlisted for the study. Their workstations were outfitted with a treadmill desk. The surface could be raised or lowered with the touch of a button. Whether the employees worked sitting down or standing up and walking was entirely up to them. However, all were wired with an accelerometer that kept track of their daily calories burned. At the end of 52 weeks, the employees averaged burning 74 more calories per day than before the workstations were installed. That’s all well and good, but is it enough reason for an employer to go to the expense of installing these more treadmill workstations?”

The New York Times also has a great piece on treadmill desks.