If you hold an office job, you might spend as many as 15 hours a day sitting in your work station, about five times more than agricultural workers.
The lack of movement means using less energy, which limits how many calories you burn. Studies show that agricultural workers burn 1,000 calories more than office-based individuals because they stand and walk about throughout the day.
As a result, a sedentary lifestyle is associated with obesity because weight gain is a natural consequence of fewer calories burned.
The good news is substituting as little as half an hour of sitting with light physical activity can counteract the havoc done to your body by nearly a whole day of sitting.
How the Treadmill Desk Was Born
Although Nathan Edelson holds the patent for the portable desk that could be used with treadmills and stationary bikes, British endocrinologist Dr. James Levine is more popularly known as the inspiration behind the treadmill desk. He stumbled upon the idea while studying non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or energy used for non-exercise activities such as standing, walking, and even fidgeting.
Levine declared that sitting down for long periods of time is bad for one's health. Then he thought: what if people could work and exercise at the same time? What he did was put a hospital tray on top of a treadmill. And viola—the first treadmill desk was born.
Why Use a Treadmill Desk?
Since low to zero exercise contributes to weight gain as much as genetics and excessive eating do, light to moderate physical activity such as walking will reduce obesity.
A study involving 15 obese office workers using a treadmill desk set at a speed of 1 mile per hour showed that they lost 100 calories per hour. Researchers estimated that they’ll lose 44 to 66 pounds a year if they continued using the treadmill workstation for two to three hours daily as long as they do not increase their calorie intake.
Lower Stress Levels
Endorphins are released into your body when you exercise, motivating you to move forward during the day.
The results of a Stanford University experiment conducted a few years ago that’s still being cited in health literature today showed that people came up with more creative ideas, particularly alternative uses to everyday objects when they took a test after walking.
One research article shows that active workstations such as treadmill desks take out the boredom from office-based workers and help them perform better through improved attention and memory.
Freedom from Back Pain
Walking improves your posture so your neck, shoulders, and back feel better than when you’re seated for hours on end.
Improved Lung Capacity
Light walking offered by a treadmill desk can help expand the lungs and bronchial tubes, making breathing easier — good news for asthmatics and people with other respiratory problems.
Good for Heart
Simple exercise such as walking on a treadmill help create and store nitric oxide, which protects the heart from damage.
LifeSpan Treadmill Desk TR1200-DT5
LifeSpan Fitness has been in the business of selling treadmill desks since 2011. The Utah-based company gets their fitness equipment from Taiwan-based StrengthMaster. The TR1200-DT5 is the company's best-selling product.
Desk and Frame
The frame of the desk, which is made of composite board, is available in silver and charcoal colors. Its height can be manually adjusted from 33.5 inches to 52.5 inches (2.8 feet to 4.4 feet).
The desk comes in two sizes: 38 inches (width) by 29 inches (depth) or 48 inches (width) by 29 inches (depth). The laminated surface types come in cool gray, absolute acajou, and wild cherry, while the powder-coated desks come in jamison, white, and obsidian black. The 60-pound desk can support a maximum weight of 220lbs. Its lower portion has a padded but firm armrest, which can help prevent carpal tunnel discomfort.
Motor and Treadmill
The TR1200-DT5 runs on a "whisper-quiet" 2.25 horsepower motor designed to operate continuously for six hours straight.
The 20-inch wide and 50-inch long treadmill supports speeds of 0.4–4 miles per hour. The sound of your steps is minimized, thanks to the shock absorbers on six different points along the treadmill.
The TR1200-DT5’s power cables are inside the frame of the desk, reducing the risk of falls due to tripping.
Console and Smart Features
The console of the treadmill allows you to set the speed and time, and monitor the distance and calories you burned during your walk.
The treadmill's smart features include the Intelli-Step, which counts your steps as you walk, and the Intelli-Guard, which automatically pauses the treadmill when you step off of it. Meanwhile, you can use the LifeSpan app so you can synch the activity data on the console with your Android smartphone or iPhone via Bluetooth.
Setup and Assembly
The TR1200-DT5 is delivered in a package with five parts that can be assembled quite easily by following the instructions. You may need another person's help for setting up the metal parts in place.
Besides the pros and cons of the TR1200-DT5 mentioned in an earlier published Shape Junkie article on the best treadmill desks, users of the LifeSpan product were also satisfied with:
- The wheel-equipped treadmill, which can be rolled away if you want to use the desk as a plain standing desk for part of the day.
- The lifetime protection for the frame of the desk, three-year protection for the motor, and two-year protection for parts.
A number of TR1200-DT5 users considered the machine life-changing because of how it beat a bike desk at lifting their dreary mood in the office.
If you have no time to walk outdoors or exercise in a gym, mild cardio exercise using TR1200-DT5 can help fight off the bad effects of "sitting disease."
Due to its noiseless and moveable treadmill features, it can be used in the office without disrupting others. You can use the TR1200-DT5 treadmill desk while doing simple emails and administrative work that doesn't require deep focus.
Of course, there are tasks that you might accomplish better using a real desk and seat instead of a treadmill desk like typing at length and image processing.
Besides walking on a treadmill desk, take time to walk outdoors or work out in a gym or somewhere else outside your office to give your mind momentary freedom from your usual physical setting.