New desk makes for standing-room only in the office

October 14th, 2009 
By Ed Yeates KSL
SALT LAKE CITY
-- Imagine going to the office, but instead of sitting, you stand and walk at your desk. And you do it comfortably for eight hours a day.

University of Utah researcher Dr. Liz Joy is testing a fully-functional, 6-foot wide desk called the "TrekDesk." The first-of-its kind office furniture eliminates the conventional chair and calls on users to embrace a whole new workplace lifestyle.



"We evolved as a species to be upright," Joy says. "Everything works better upright. We have less loading of the joints in our back [while] standing than we do sitting."

The new desk is designed to partner with a conventional treadmill, but in this case the office worker walks slowly--at the rate of only one mile per hour.

"I did find that, over time, you kind of develop a rhythm with it, and it's almost imperceptible movement," Joy says.

Did you know…
• The average person takes 1,000 to 3,000 steps a day
• The US Surgeon General recommends taking 10,000 steps a day (approx. 5 miles)
• You must burn 3500 calories to lose one pound of body weight
• Walking at 1 MPH will burn 2.6 calories per minute (156 cal/hr)
• At 1 MPH with a 5.0 incline will burn 3.6 calories per minute (216 cal/hr)
Did you know…
• Over 34% of adults aged 20 years and older are obese
• In Utah, the rate is 22.5% for adults; 23.1% for children
• Mississippi has the highest rate of obese adults at 32.5%; Colorado is lowest (18.9%)
• Mississippi also has the highest rate among children (44.4%); Utah and Minnesota are the lowest (23.1%)
• Four states have rates about 30% (Miss., Ala., W.V., Tenn.)
• 31 states exceed 25%; 49 states and Wash., D.C. exceed 20%
• In 1991 no states had a rate above 20% - CDC
Apparently, that graceful walking does wonders for the body.
"We lubricate the joints in our lower extremities and our hips and knees and our ankles through movement," Joy says.

Again, this is not just standing. Users move, conceivably allowing them to do desk work all day without tiring.

"This way, you're pumping the blood back to your heart," Joy says. "And you don't have that sense of fatigue."

So, is it out with the old and in with the new? Joy and her colleagues in family and preventive medicine want to find out if this desk, in fact, will provide a return investment as a healthier, even more productive option for the office employee.

"We're in an era right now where we're trying to provide the best health for the lowest cost. It's the only way we're going to survive," she says.

Incidentally, you also burn off 100 calories for every hour or mile you walk at the desk. Joy believes the standing and walking rhythm could especially decrease the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes in those employees with metabolic syndromes.

Here is a list of the benefits and link to the studies.

Switches on the body's metabolic furnace, allowing efficient calorie burning.
Treadmill desks stimulate the lymphatic system and wards off disease.
Stimulates brain function, improving memory as much as 15% in a 6 month period using a treadmill desk.
Increases blood flow to the brain and increases productivity.
Improves mood and wards off mild depression without medication.
Treadmill desks promotes significant weight loss and control of appetite.
Prevents onset of Type II Diabetes and assists with control.
A treadmill desk improves blood circulation throughout the body.
Improve lung capacity and strength walking with a treadmill desk.
Promotes healthy restorative sleep patterns.
Bolsters the immune system.
Treadmill desks prevent bone loss (osteoporosis).
Reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
Treadmill desks reduce bad cholesterol (LDL).
Improves blood lipid profiles.
A treadmill desk increases good cholesterol (HDL) levels.
Walking at a treadmill desk reduces overall body fat.
Treadmill desks enhance mental well being.
A treadmill desk reduces the risk of colon cancer.
Walking with a treadmill desk may reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Reduces inflammation from arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Increases flexibility and coordination, reducing risks of falls.
Reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimers.
Walking with a treadmill desk consistently INCREASES LIFE SPAN.
Relieve back pain walking on a treadmill desk.
Treadmill desks assist in recoveries after some surgeries.
Treadmill desks may reduce side effects of chemotherapy.
Increases strength of leg and back muscles.
Treadmill desks prevent loss of work from sick days.
Increases overall fitness levels and health.
Treadmill desks prevent arthritis in the knees.
Walking daily assists in the rehabilitation of stroke victims.
Daily recommended minimum 10,000 steps completed in 3 hours with TrekDesk.
Frees up more time for you and your family,
A treadmill desk significantly reduces stress levels.
TrekDesk makes exercise automatic and habit forming.
A treadmill desk can assist in reducing high blood pressure.
Lowers the risk of gallstones and gall bladder surgeries.
Stimulates release of dopamine, increasing levels of happiness.
A treadmill desk assists in smoking cessation efforts.
Decreases craving for nicotine.
May decrease risk of heart disease in women by 40%.
May decrease risk of stroke in men by as much as 50%.
Treadmill desks assist in reducing health care costs.
A treadmill desk reduces necessity for some medications.
A treadmill desk may decrease the risk of contracting glaucoma.
Increases regularity, decreases incidence of constipation.
Significantly less stress on your joints than running.
Treadmill desks increase libido, enhances sex lives.
Treadmill desks decreases the incidence of impotence.
Decreases incidence of sleep apnea; enhances sleep.
Protects against likelihood of hip fractures.
Increases levels of self satisfaction and wellness.