Top 9 Articles on Treadmill Desks

August 21, 2020
Winston Churchill Standing at Desk

We get a lot of inquiries from prospective and experienced treadmill deskers both, looking for the best articles to share with their employers or colleagues, to convince them it would be a good idea to invest in the equipment. Citing well-known celebrity treadmill desk users is one thing, but to be convinced many folks will want to read about credible organizations that have employed walking workstations, in they want to read about it in credible publications. We compiled our favorite articles here, in no particular order:

1. Treadmill Desks Don’t Affect Work Quality– Scott Douglas (Runner’s World)

First on our list is this article from Runner’s World. This piece introduces us to a few things. First, studies in “Inactive physiology” suggest that sitting for long periods of time increase the risk of chronic diseases, and—because this is Runner’s World—of injury to your hips and hamstrings. It also acquaints us with a study of treadmill desks, in which sedentary workers are able to fit in an extra half hour of walking each day at work. And while there is a bit of a decline in work performance at first, workers were able to acclimate to the treadmill desks and eventually outperformed earlier benchmarks. And that’s just the beginning.

2. Treadmill Desking: One Cure for ‘Sitting Disease’ – Abby Sims (Huffington Post)

This article makes another good primer for the world of treadmill desks. It introduces us to some scientific studies, the concept of NEAT, and some rather sharp advice to take when you’re working while walking – advice that we feel the general desking public does not follow nearly enough. A little back-patting is also in order because this article cites our website, acknowledging WorkWhileWalking’s expert reviews – the pride and joy of our site.

3. New Study: Treadmill Desks Boost Productivity– Susan Adams (Forbes)

This recent Forbes article examines a study published by the University of Minnesota on the benefits of treadmill desks in the workplace. This 12-month study, published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, is one of the most comprehensive studies of treadmill desks so far, involving 43 volunteers on treadmill desks. The study finds that workers with a treadmill desk are more productive than their sedentary counterparts. This is definitely one of the best articles to show your boss if you’re trying to get treadmill desks in the office. You can also find the original study here.

4. How to work standing up– Jane Taylor (The Independent)

This article gives us some insight into what a desking company looks like, and how standing improves its workers’ health. Professionals from the UK move to a US office where standing is standard. The British transplants, who at first seemed wary of the bizarre environment, soon became standing converts. The article also explains how simply standing improves your body’s ability to burn calories and process glucose. One of the most interesting things about this article is the idea that standing gives workers like salesmen and radio DJs a more enthusiastic demeanor. It brings to mind the possibilities of an upbeat, active 9-5 workday. Envious yet?

5. Treadmill Desks and the Benefits of ‘Walking Alive’ – Talk of the Nation (NPR)

By this point in the article, we figure you need a break from reading. The following story was broadcast on NPR’s Talk of the Nation May 2013 and features Susan Orlean, a writer for The New Yorker and a longtime desker. Orlean shares her experiences with her treadmill desk on the air – its benefits to her well-being, her improved levels of energy – and listeners call in with their questions and feedback. It’s a great little audible treat if you want to get a sense not only of what the experts think but of what the desking community feels as well.

6. The Truth About Treadmill Desks, Increasing Productivity, And Decreasing Waistlines- Lydia Dishman (Fast Company)

Treadmill Desk WorkstationAnother testimonial article in support of treadmill desks. This one, written by business journalist Lydia Dishman, cites Cosmo’s editor Joanna Coles and others in the journalism industry. Together they paint a picture of how treadmill desks have bolstered their fast-paced lives and allowed a new level of mental and physical fitness. What’s different about these personal accounts is that they illustrate the benefits of desking to creativity and to the writing process: it’s an effect we’re all too familiar with here on the editorial side. This is also one of the few testimonials that feature correct treadmill desk use—walking, not marathoning—so kudos to you, journalists.

7. Standing orders; Aug 10, 2013 (The Economist)

Winston Churchill Using a Standing Desk Winston Churchill standing at his desk, probably checking his twitter. Or carrier pigeon. Or, whatever.

This article, published in The Economist, begins by establishing an historical precedent for standing, reminding us that the likes of Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemingway used to rock some early standing desks (albeit not the magical height-adjustable setups we’re used to). More importantly, the article hammers in the perils associated with prolonged sitting—namely links to heart disease and diabetes. By examining a combined 18 scientific studies involving 800,000 volunteers the article indicates that people who are less active in their normal lives are more likely to die from a heart attack than those who are more active—regardless of the amount of vigorous exercise volunteers did in the gym. That’s what we’ve been saying!

8. Physicians on Treadmills Diagnose with Accuracy, Says Mayo Doc; July 25, 2013- Cheryl Clark (HealthLeaders Media)

One of the big names we like to throw around our office is that of James Levine, Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and one of the champions of Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. This article, in addition to giving us a peek into Levine’s personal fight against sitting disease, cites a study showing us that doctors on treadmill desks were able to interpret CT studies as accurately—or even more accurately—than their sitting colleagues. One of the biggest hurdles preventing people from trying out a treadmill desk is they don’t think they can work with as much focus and intelligence when walking. This just simply isn’t the case.

9. Sitting is sabotaging our health: Stand up for yourself, March 13, 2014 – Allie Shah (Star Tribune)

Here we have my personal favorite of the list. This Star Tribune article by Allie Shah chronicles the (harrowing?) attempt of one reporter to sit as little as possible. The article includes statistics and health reports, and an interview with our favorite endocrinologist James Levine. More than that though, the article makes it apparent exactly how much we sit throughout the day—in our cars, at our desks, during lunch – and what sorts of lifestyle changes are needed to combat sitting disease. By the end of the article, Shah has committed to her new life as a desker. Feeling ready to do the same?

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