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Surprising Science

Walking on a Treadmill Desk Shouldn’t Be Your Only Source of Exercise

Treadmill desks shouldn’t be considered an end-all-be-all fitness solution — it’s a way to promote health and lessen the amount of time you sit on a daily basis.

Sitting is killing us. Even exercising daily can’t make up for the eight hours we spend toiling at a desk. As a way of counteracting this issue, the treadmill desk was born. But a new study shows that while these machines can help us get a dose of daily activity, it shouldn’t be our only source of activity.

Melissa Dahl from NYMag writes on a study by John M. Schuna, Jr., an exercise scientist, who found in his research that treadmill desks don’t even provide the minimum amount of physical activity we need in order to stay healthy.

The study, outlined in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, took 41 overweight participants who work at a desk as part of their day job. Twenty-one were assigned to work at a treadmill desk for 12 weeks, while the remaining participants stuck to their usual sitting routine. The treadmill desk group increased their daily steps per day (around 1,622), but not enough to reach the recommended 10,000 step daily average.

The researchers write:

“Shared-treadmill desks in the workplace can be effective at promoting favorable changes in light physical activity (specifically 40 to 99 steps/minute) and sedentary behavior among overweight/obese office workers.”

The bottom line is treadmill desks shouldn’t be held as the end-all-be-all exercise solution. It’s a way to improve a situation and decrease the amount of time you spend sitting at a desk. Treadmill desks and standing desks are a good first step to improving yourself, but the reality is it shouldn’t be the last thing you do to improve your health and wellness.

Read more at NYMag.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


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