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Workday workout

Are desk treadmills worth it?

Article Author: Katelyn Vogt

Article Date:

Illustration of woman walking on desk treadmill

With life’s daily hustle and bustle, it can be challenging to prioritize time for exercise. For those who primarily work at a desk, chances are it’s even harder to get in your daily steps. Recently, more and more remote workers have begun opting for desk treadmills for both their convenience and multitasking capabilities.

However, before you go out and purchase one for your office, it’s important to consider if a desk treadmill is the right fit for you.

“One should be aware of the benefits as well as the limitations,” said Keith Demonte Brown, a coordinator and wellness coach at the Y Healthy Living Center at the Baptist North Medical Campus.

Walk it out

As a cardiovascular exercise, walking provides a range of health benefits, including lowering the risk of developing coronary artery disease, improving balance and bone density, and decreasing the likelihood of falls.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week, and a treadmill desk can help individuals reach this goal by utilizing time typically spent seated.

“Owning a desk treadmill enables many people to reap the benefits of improved health, while meeting job tasks, regardless of their location,” said Brown.

Benefits of a desk treadmill include:

  • Giving the busy parent a way to fit in a workout while the kids are at school
  • Providing a break to stretch your legs midday while remaining productive
  • Improving mood
  • Promoting a healthy body weight

Brown suggests starting with 30 minutes of a light to moderate pace, broken into two 15-minute intervals. This meets the minimum recommendation and gives the body time to adjust to the exercise alongside typing on a computer.

One step at a time

However, a desk treadmill may not be the best choice for everyone. There is a risk of injury and overworking the body, particularly for beginners or those with health conditions. Factors that may make using a desk treadmill difficult include:

  • Challenges with mobility and/or balance
  • Limited hip, knee and/or ankle flexibility
  • Posture and/or back challenges
  • History of motion sickness
  • History of falls

“I would recommend a desk treadmill for physically capable adults who need to get moving during the workday. More specifically, those individuals who fall between an intermediate and expert fitness level could benefit the most from a treadmill desk because of their acquired fitness skills,” Brown stated.

Additionally, for some, it may be challenging to find the right balance between working and walking. This could lead to the treadmill becoming a distraction rather than boosting productivity.

Know your goals

A desk treadmill is a great way to get in a workout during your work day, but it’s not for everyone. Brown recommends being mindful of your objective with owning one and setting performance goals to hold yourself accountable and build a routine. You should also consider the cost, which can range from $200 to $1000, depending on the brand.

“Ideally, consistency will help prevent this investment from ending up in the neighborhood yard sale or becoming an artifact in your garage,” Brown said.

If you need advice on a personalized exercise plan, a Baptist wellness coach can help. Call 904.202.4500 or request a free health screening at a Healthy Living Center.

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