Walking While You Work

Can you imagine being able to walk while you type?

ByABC News via via logo

Oct. 25, 2007 — -- At least half of the 150 million Americans who go to work every day wind up sitting at a desk. This makes for increased absenteeism and decreased productivity.

Walking is often recommended as a good antidote to sitting all day, but who has the time? Well, what if you could walk while you work at your desk?

There's a new product that allows you to do just that — the Walkstation, a treadmill integrated with a workstation.

Developed by Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., the Walkstation combines burning calories with building commerce.

Click here to find out where you can purcahse one.

For Amy Langer, working is now a losing proposition — losing weight, that is. Her company has tossed out the old style desk and chair, and replaced them with standup workstations where employees can walk off pounds without missing a single keystroke.

"I've checked all my e-mail. I can make phone calls, I can check on our database, I can move things back and forth. Every single thing that I could do from my desk, I could do from here," Langer said.

This new style of working is the latest experiment in an ongoing effort by some employers, who have discovered that trimming workers' waistlines can actually be good for the company bottom line, too.

An estimated one-third of Americans are obese. And potential health issues related to obesity can drive health care costs up to $100 billion a year, so employers are trying various solutions, such as giving away gym memberships or actually paying workers to shed pounds.

But Levine thinks he has a better idea.

"If sitting is to blame, standing is the solution," he said.

He measured the calorie burning capacity of sedentary versus walking workers and discovered that just standing on your feet burns an extra 20 calories an hour. And walking is even better. So he came up with a design for the treadmill desk.

Depending on age, sex and body type, a 60-minute stroll at an easy 1 mile per hour burns anywhere from 100 to 130 calories. Do the metabolic math for a typical eight-hour day, and you get a potential weight loss of up to 40 pounds a year —without ever leaving the office.

And Levine stands behind those findings -- literally -- even while doing an interview.

"I spend my working day at 1 mile per hour," he said.

With Americans gaining in girth every day, it seems the only way to lose it is to move it.

"It's as easy as walking and chewing gum," Langer bragged.

Levine started himself on a Walkstation regimen — 15 minutes at the top of every hour. Within six months, he got rid of his chair.

"You simply get the hang of walking and working," he said. "A fascinating point is, your body naturally wants to be in motion ... moving while working is what we're designed to do. It's only a recent development that work has confined our motion — that we've become 'chair-imprisoned.' The Walkstation gives people back the opportunity to move as they're meant to do."

Levine said he hopes that one day his grandchildren are going to ask, "Was it really true that people had to sit and work?"

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