In a previous post I mentioned that it would be ideal if it were possible to get an aerobic workout while using the computer. Little did I know that there is a movement underway that allows us to do just that. It’s called “walking while working” and basically entails rigging a treadmill with a fully functional computer work station.
I have often tried to read while jogging on the treadmill or using the elliptical, but my head bobs around so much it makes me sea sick. When you only allow 30-45 for exercise, you have to get your body really moving, making reading or typing pretty much impossible. The “walking while working” concept is that you are not exercising, you are working. Moving the body constantly at a slow pace for a long time however, can make a big difference.
James Levine, M.D. and his colleagues in the NEAT (Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis) lab at Mayo Clinic have pioneered an “Office of the Future” — a fully functioning office that bears a marked resemblance to a gym. Complete with treadmills that serve as both desks and computer platforms and a two-lane walking track that serves as a meeting room, Dr. Levine and his entire staff have a unique, active work environment.
Desks and computer platforms are cleverly mounted on treadmills to create a slow moving workstation. Levine disliked visiting the gym after a long workday. He puts the treadmill on a very slow speed (as slow as 1 mph), slow enough to avoid sweating, but fast enough to burn an extra 100 calories per hour, and up to 1,000 extra per day on his average 10-hour workday.
The concept of moving while you work has all but disappeared from the modern workplace. Levine’s program hopes to revolutionize that by changing the way America conducts its business, one step at a time.
The curious at first find it dubious, but not for long, after they’re told research shows they could lose between 30 and 50 pounds a year. But can companies afford all this equipment?
“There’s no cubicles here at all,” says Levine as he gives NBC News a tour of the office. “Everybody still has their own space, and yet units cost half the price of what a cubicle costs.”
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