Dave McGinn of the Globe and Mail asks Is your office chair killing you? He points to a number of studies now confirming that sitting all day is really bad for your health;
Meanwhile, the New York Times describes how one company in Minneapolis is dealing with the problem; they not only have treadmill desks, but they have a treadmill conference room.
Studies of sedentary behaviour suggest that sitting for extended periods of time increase a person’s chances of developing a wide range of illnesses and diseases, including several types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity and Type II diabetes.
In a conference room, Salo has set up four treadmill desks, where a height-adjustable working surface is placed above the treadmill track. The desks face one another, so that people can walk and take care of business at the same time. “It took a bit of adjustment,” said Craig Dexheimer, Salo’s director of operations and administration. “It’s normal to walk and talk at the gym, but in an office setting it was a bit strange at first.” In a separate room, Salo has set up six treadmill desks, complete with computers. Employees are free to use them for a session of walking and working. They can also take Ping-Pong breaks on a table set up in the office.
They all look rather silly in the photograph, wearing business suits and ties while meeting and walking on a treadmill. But it seems to have been effective:
For six months, the activities of 18 employees — including Mr. Dexheimer — were monitored by a device on their belts. With the help of equipment like the treadmill desks and wireless headsets that permit walking while talking on the phone, the employees collectively lost more than 150 pounds, most of it in body fat. Their cholesterol and triglyceride levels also showed a collective decline.
More in the New York Times