How You Can Walk And Work Simultaneously
© 2013 Express10
This article is geared towards those who have some amount of choice within their personal work environment and whose jobs are actually conducive to walking while working, even if it is just once or several times daily. If you have been a desk jockey for any length of time, you probably appreciate getting up and stretching your legs whenever you can do so. Studies are increasingly relating extended periods of sitting to ill effects on health and shorter lifespans.
The occurrence of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer can often be attributed in part to a sedentary lifestyle. If you have the option and your work is conducive to it, try walking on a treadmill for short bursts of exercise during your work day. Some people walk for as much as 1/2, 3/4, or even their full work day, but this is not always possible or even necessary depending on your work and your current state of health and workouts on your personal time.
Beware, thinking that you're safe because you workout moderately to vigorously for at least one or two hours outside of work is incorrect. Recent and current studies are showing that the internal changes caused by several hours of sitting daily cannot be undone even by this amount of exercise which the vast majority of people simply can't or will not perform.
It is perfectly understandable that some employers simply don't have the space or budget to make a change such as adding a couple of treadmill desks or space for exercise. Also, many people perform work that simply cannot be done while walking on a treadmill and other employees simply do not care to do so or cannot do so due to physical limitations. But, If you are concerned about the link between sitting and declining health (and increasing weight gain), please read further to learn more about walking and working. Show your employers this article and see if a small amount of space could be dedicated for those concerned about their health.
- Prior to getting on your treadmill to work, make sure all plugs are plugged in and cords, etc. are in good working order. Doing a quick check daily helps you find potential problems (and solutions) sooner rather than later. These checks help you catch small problems that cost less to repair rather than waiting until something big happens which will cost you more to repair or replace.
- Next, make sure that you have on proper shoes, no heels, ballet flats, sandals, flip flops, wedges, etc. Proper fitting sneakers are the only way to go because they offer cushioning and support. Do not even think about those hidden heel sneakers. REAL sneakers only!
- Once you have all the materials you'll need whether this is a phone, computer, or other items, step onto the treadmill. When getting acquainted with walking and working it's easier to gather everything for work rather than getting on and off constantly as this is the likeliest point for a stumble, especially when you are a newbie. Once you make it habit to get on and get off cautiously, this should not be a recurring issue.
- When you are on the treadmill, start it on a low speed of your choice. Make sure that you start out at less than 1 mph and then work up to 1 mph. Once you're comfortable, and make walking a habit while working you may find yourself inching upwards to 1.5 to 2 mph. Keep in mind that it's not ideal to break a sweat if you're around others in the workplace. Take it easy to avoid embarrassment from sweating or possible stumbles or injuries from attempting to walk quickly while working. Even if you're doing less than 1 mph you are helping to better your health and ward off weight gain.
For some people, walking and working is like a duck taking to water and others may find it quite challenging. If you feel it will take some getting used to, simply try doing only one thing while walking. Try to organize paperwork, prepare sales brochures/mailings, or make calls. If you find that you're making more typos when walking and working, slow the pace down even further. Even a painfully slow pace is better for you than sitting on your duff and it will get easier with practice. If you want to bring a drink onto the treadmill, make sure it's in a shatterproof container and is preferably in a sports bottle rather than a fast food paper cup/straw combination.
Personally, it took me a few minutes to get comfortable doing a variety of things while walking and working at 1 mph. Currently, I walk and work at 2 mph on a 2% incline thanks to a treadmill desk that I made myself. However, many people may take a few hours to get used to walking and working and there are people who don't like this combination and will decline opportunities to do so. This may be fine for their health only if they are using other measures to get off their duffs during their work hours and get more active outside of work as well.
If you work at home a treadmill desk may be an option depending on the type of work you do. Many people have treadmills that they never use at home but are still fairly sedentary despite having these machines available. Also, there can be obstacles to walking and working even when a treadmill is available. One obstacle is that there is no work surface. Some treadmills are better equipped for a bit of aftermarket adaptation that you can do your self. However, the design of some treadmills makes it practically impossible to secure a work surface of any type let alone rest valuable equipment on top such as computers. This is a challenge you that you may or may not be able to find a solution for.
If money is not a huge concern or your employer offers to pay a portion of the costs, you can find treadmill desks that make it easier to walk and work for prices ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars. If you or someone you know is knowledgeable, experienced, and handy, perhaps you can ask them to make a treadmill desk for you. Take into account that the controls of the treadmill need to be easily accessible or it will be an irritation to move things around just to turn it on, off, or adjust settings.
For those new to walking and working, it may take some getting used to. You will be multitasking and you may need a few tries to get comfortable. It is often recommended that you walk at a max of 1 mph when walking and working. If you do have a treadmill at home but cannot make walking on it while working work for you, at least make a commitment to yourself and your health to get up and use it several times a day for at least 5 - 10 minutes each time and get up and stretch for at least 5 minutes each hour. If you can do at least three or four bouts of 10 minutes of walking, at least five days a week, you will be much better off at avoiding weight gain and other ill health effects of too much sitting such as higher risks of diabetes, heart disease, and more.
A small number of employers are taking action to the benefit of their employees and providing more breaks or even a few treadmill desks to improve not only employee morale but also to improve their health. Some in-the-know employers are open to allowing employees bring their own treadmills to a designated place at the company for mini-workouts while others may pitch in a percentage of the cost of getting one for everyone to use once or twice a day in shifts depending on the number of employees that will be using it.
While it is not a requirement and not always practical, walking while working can provide you the opportunity to increase your metabolism, boost energy and productivity levels, and stave off diabetes and heart disease. Many people spend at least 40 - 50 hours working each week with others working 80+. If you break up some of this time with bursts of exercise, it will benefit both employer and employee in the short and long term.
© 2013 Express10
Have you tried walking while working?
Do you walk and work regularly?
Mayo Clinic, Sitting Risks
- Sitting risks: How harmful is too much sitting? - MayoClinic.com
Sitting for extended periods — such as in front of the TV or at a desk — appears to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.