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A treadmill desk is an exercise machine that is adapted from a traditional treadmill by including some components of a computer desk as well. It is a relatively new invention that some have embraced in order to work in a physically healthier environment. The concept is relatively simple; instead of merely sitting behind a computer for eight hours, five days a week, a worker can walk behind a computer for at least part of that time.
The treadmill desk has not caught on in many places, and may simply be a fad that will pass in time. However, with the increasing obesity issues that plague those in industrialized nations, the treadmill desk may be a way to combat some of those problems. However, the corporate world does not change fast. Any integration to the widespread use of a treadmill desk will likely be very slow.
The treadmill desk uses a standard treadmill belt and drive. However, overlayed above the top of the treadmill, is a platform. This platform can hold a computer that can then serve as a workstation for workers. The platform and computer must be relatively stable in order to support walking and computer work. However, the adaptations are not that expensive.
There are two types of treadmill desks. The most popular type of treadmill desk is a desk that is built to accommodate the configurations of a treadmill and may not actually touch the treadmill at all. This cuts down on having a workspace that is constantly vibrating from the footsteps. Generally this treadmill desk is the most popular as it allows some flexibility in treadmill models. The other type is a desk that is permanently affixed to the treadmill.
While it is unclear whether there are any financial benefits of the treadmill desks, some insurance companies may offer a discount in health insurance rates due to healthy worker initiatives. However, these may be counterbalanced by an increase in workers compensation premiums, if the workers compensation carrier believes there is more of a risk for injury with the desks. More study needs to be done to truly understand what financial benefits may be.
However, while the financial benefits may be in doubt, Dr. James Levine, who came up with the idea of a treadmill desk, believes there are numerous health benefits. For those who use a treadmill desk regularly throughout the workday, the benefit could be a loss of up to 57 additional pounds each year, he believes. Additionally, getting a workout while working may also free up additional time after work for socialization and family, meaning the benefits of the treadmill desk go well beyond money and health.