Desk treadmill: Does the viral trend offering fitness while at work actually help
An emotional support drink bottle and a 5am morning routine are tell-tale signs you’ve got your life together, according to TikTok, but the new trend sweeping our feeds at the moment really could be a huge benefit to our overall health.
Cue: the walking desk.
The walking desk trend is spreading across social media (and has been steadily increasing since working from home became the new normal for many) but this seems to completely change the game.
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Amassing over 4.8 billion views over the past year or so, the walking desk trend has been covered by everyone from TikTok influencers, to business owners, mums, and average Aussies just looking to get some more steps in.
After all, most of us are by now aware ‘sitting is the new smoking’, with plenty of research linking sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity, increased blood pressure, excess body fat around the waist, and unhealthy cholesterol levels.
People can improve their health in many ways simply by walking 8,000 to 9,000 steps a day, researchers say, with evidence accumulating over the past decade or so that walking can pay off big when it comes to conditions like hypertension, diabetes and dementia.
But sometimes, steps can be hard! And that’s where this nifty take on a conventional treadmill is helping hundreds.
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TikToker Kristen Kaus, for example, introduced this product to her followers in a video, which quickly racked up over 1.1 million views, plus many more video updates since she first got her tread last year.
“Truly life changing,” she captioned the clip.
Sales of the treads have been steadily increasing, with MyDeal for example selling over 400 of the Centra Electric Treadmill Walking Pad and over 100 stand up desks. Plus they only have limited stock of the LSG Nimbus walking pad and standing desk combo.
So we thought we’d see what all the fuss was about, and a few of us gave it a go here at the 9Honey offices. Here’s what we thought.
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“I’ve long yearned for a treadmill desk. For years using a stand-up desk, and being a (occasionally neurotic) fidgeter, I’ve always thought a walking treadmill would be the perfect accessory for me.
However, there were a lot of hesitations. Although $300 isn’t a lot for a treadmill, it’s still a lot for something I might not use regularly. I also wasn’t completely sure I actually would be able to work while walking.
Like every stereotype of my gender, I really am a man who struggles to do two things at once. Could I really walk while trying to get a days worth of work done? And would the novelty wear off quickly?
“I wasn’t completely sure I actually would be able to work while walking.”
Luckily for me (and to be fair, for keeping my job), getting work done while using the treadmill is actually easier than you think.
The treadmill goes to a maximum of 6km/h but I found myself slowly walking at a sensible 4.5km/h. Walking slowly for a long period of time wasn’t terribly difficult, and I found myself doing that at my desk much longer than I would stand without the treadmill.
That said, using the treadmill is far easier to use when doing less-intensive projects. Reading, reviewing, sitting on zoom meetings. I wouldn’t suggest using it when working on projects that require intense concentration.
Using the treadmill a few hours a day, I found it very easy to clock up 20,000 steps each day. Doing a light workout at work and burning extra calories was not only fun but felt efficient.”
“When I first saw the under-desk treadmill trend I was certain I’d be able to do it every day for at least a few hours, and I honestly probably would’ve if I had the space and set-up to use it at home.
While I didn’t have too much trouble getting used to the feeling of walking while working, doing it in the office came with a few issues – namely, what to wear. No one wants to hop on the treadmill in heels or sweat into the clothes they have to wear around the office all day. Because of that, I only walked for a few hours at a time one or two days a week.
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If I could use it at home in my sneakers and active wear I would’ve been on it every single day, it was that practical.
But then the issue becomes where to store it, and I would have to buy a whole new standing desk to use it. I did find it a little tricky to concentrate on more involved work while working, so I tended to only hop on the treadmill on lighter days or while I was going through admin.”
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I’m someone who goes to the gym five to six days a week, but getting my daily steps in has been a struggle for as long as I can remember caring about steps!
Even though we have stand-up desks in the office, I only rarely use it, and even when I do, it’s not something that lasts for very long at all. Personally, I find it uncomfortable.
So having the option to put the treadmill under my desk and walk it off seemed like a God-send. And for the most part it was. On normal days I’d be lucky to get 4,000 steps before clocking off for the day and then (thankfully) moving my body at the gym.
But just spending 20-30 minutes walking at a comfortable pace while sorting through emails immediately added another 3,000 or so to my daily count.
I did struggle a bit typing while walking so again, I couldn’t really use it while penning a long feature, but for smaller tasks here and there it was perfect. My one downside would be the sweating. Given it’s summer, and I’m a sweater in general, it didn’t really matter what I wore I felt I needed a shower afterwards.
But overall, given how important is to avoid sitting for lengthy periods of time, this is definitely a trend I can get behind. The tread we used was the Centra Electric Treadmill Walking Pad, which costs about $300 (they’re available via a host of retailers like MyDeal or Amazon) which isn’t too much of an investment when it comes to your health.
It’s safe to say we don’t see this trend losing steam anytime soon.
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