Saturday, May 19, 2007

The walky way to weight loss

treadmill desk
This is Dr. James Levine of Mayo Clinic showing us how the office of the future should be equipped. Instead of sitting at computer screens and keybords all the time, office workers should walk while working, with a speed of approximately a mile or two per hour. Levine has tested this treadmill desk with fifteen obese volunteers. According to his calculations, they can lose twenty to thirty kilograms a year with two or three hours of walky working a day and if they do not eat more than before. - (Picture by Mayo Clinic)

Good idea, wrong place

I see a number of good points in Dr. Levine's treadmill desk. It puts focus on movement which is to be applauded in these days of diet hypes everywhere. It replaces sitting by walking and this is what we all should do because we spend too much time sitting and too little time walking. It shows us that even with a slow walking speed we can, in principle, lose dozens of kilos in only one year. This is very encouraging.

Yet I never would buy such a treadmill desk. Work is demanding and often calls for a full focus. Surfing the web or checking emails or reading blogs may be okay while walking at a speed of one or two miles an hour. But what about writing a mail or editing your blog post or debugging your HTML code? Or imagine you have to concentrate on a difficult task and you forget that the treadmill is running ...

I think that this good idea is sold in the wrong place. Most of us watch TV every day. Why not put a treadmill or bike ergometer there and use it while watching a quiz show, a daily soap or a hollywood blockbuster? It may run at a higher speed than in the office, and you may burn your fat in one instead of two hours. By the way, this study has shown that, in five hundred Polish workers, physical activity in leisure time is linked to weight loss whereas physical activity at work is not.

On the move in the office

The walking desk may be silly, but the idea of moving instead of sitting is not. I prefer to control my moves myself, not being under the constant pressure of a treadmill. A standing desk is a very good idea. While working at such a desk you always can walk on the spot if you like.

Even if you sit at a normal desk in front of a computer screen, you can take opportunities to get up and walk a bit. For instance if you have to read a paper. Another good trick: Get up every time when you make a phone call that does not require you to stare at the screen or to type.

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