We all feel at times that our work lives have become too much of a rat race, however a New Zealand study just released shows that might not always be a bad thing.


The study, conducted by Kristin Hillman of Otago University in Wellington found that rats that ran for 20 minutes a day for five days a week actually outperformed their sedentary study counterparts in laboratory endeavors. Not only did the exercising rats complete more tasks, they also completed them more quickly and more efficiently as well. 


Rats Productive The More They Move


"We all know exercise is good for our physical and mental health, but this data suggests that regular exercise may also help make you more productive when it comes to getting tasks accomplished each day," stated Hillman. "Links between exercise and occupational/educational achievement are starting to be noted in humans, but these links are largely correlations and can be riddled with confounding psycho-social factors. These factors include family environment, socio-economic status and personality traits. By using an animal model we obviously eliminate such factors, and are able to demonstrate a causal relationship between regular exercise and generalised industriousness." 


There have been numerous studies showing an increase in workplace productivity by employees using a treadmill desk. In every study focused on the effects of movement in the workplace productivity was shown to have increased on average 15% with creativity levels measuring even higher. The only studies showing a negative correlation recognized a bias towards allowing employees a transition period to adjust to performing office tasks while moving.




Thinking about buying a treadmill desk? There exists a hierarchy of events involved in a decision to buy one that ultimately leads to the search for the cheapest means of acquisition. This is a natural progression since treadmill desk pricing ranges from the DIY materials cost to more than $5,000 for upper end models.


The first stage of the decision process usually involves quite a bit of research to determine whether this walking at work is something one truly wants to pursue. 


Are the touted benefits real? The reports in the news and from review sites seem to run the gamut from amazing health and productivity benefits to the opposite end of the spectrum - with some speculating this is just a fad and even a waste of time.


We have reported on many TrekDesk users who have lost more than 50-70 lbs and some of these users have been prominently featured in magazines and on major network news. Studies have shown productivity boosts of 15%-30% with creativity measuring even higher results. Science is recognizing that moving throughout the day reduces the risk of almost every disease category, improves mood and in general keeps the body and mind in top form.


A review of any study that is contrary to these measures ultimately reveals a flaw in the study, either too few participants or too little time to adjust to the use of a treadmill desk. Scientists have long known of the incredible curative powers of walking and at its core this is all a treadmill desk really is – a walking facilitator.


Stage Two reflects the average users thoughts once they are convinced of the health benefits but are still not sure about the practicality of walking throughout the day. This is the feasibility stage. This is the stage that most employers focus on to deny the admission of the moving desks into the office.  Users typically want to know if they are going to sweat, smell, tire, lose their breath, fall, annoy their co-workers, or break the bank to own one.


Keep in mind that while the average walking speed is about 3 miles per hour walking out to lunch or down the hall, walking on a treadmill desk is usually at a speed of only 1-1.5 mph. No one sweats or smells as a result of walking down the hall and there is no reason to worry that this will occur at speeds 1/3 – ½ the normal walking speed. The same goes for breath control.


How can anyone walk all day you wonder? Well, first of all, if you have been sitting most of your life do not think you can immediately start walking 8-10 hours without experiencing some issues. Like any physical activity, walking has to be eased into. We recommend adding in no more than 15 minutes more each day than what you are normally used to doing. Before you know it your body will crave movement and you will not want to sit.  Everyone is different however so pay close attention to your body’s cues and ease into the process.


As for falling, while most treadmill desks have only one touch point in the front, the design of the TrekDesk has support points in 3 areas (front, left and right sides) that envelope the user and we have never had a reported case of anyone falling while walking at their treadmill.


Regarding the annoyance of co-workers this should be a non-issue provided the treadmill is of recent vintage and has been well maintained. Most are whisper quiet in application making much less noise than the average HVAC systems in an office.


This brings us to the next and most often asked question by those convinced that a treadmill desk would be a good fit into their daily life – how much is the cheapest treadmill desk going to cost?


At $499 delivered, the TrekDesk is still the least expensive full sized, height adjustable treadmill desk on the market today. In fact, in regards to surface area- it is still the largest desk in this category today with a price increase of only $20 in the past seven years.


Being Frugal at the Office 

That said there are still cheaper treadmill desks. Our original conception came from simply laying a Rubbermaid top over the arms of a treadmill. Not very stable or particularly functional but it kept a laptop level and cost about $10 (not including a treadmill). The do it yourself (DIY) path, if you are handy, can deliver a less expensive alternative depending upon your exact needs. If you read the Amazon reviews on the TrekDesk you will find however a number of DIY innovators that eventually traded their design in for the economy and features of the TrekDesk.


In the end, cheap is in the eye of the beholder. If a board across the top of a treadmill suits your needs and allows you to walk all day while you work it is still a far cry better for your health than sitting in a chair all day.


There is no disputing the positive impact of an employee's use of a treadmill desk and the health risks associated with sitting at the office all day. For those employees searching for scientific evidence to make their case for a treadmill desk to their employer, we have listed just a few studies below:


1. Sitting is equated with the same risks of smoking. Have your boss take a look at this Ted Talk that addresses this problem.

2. Sitting has been linked to shorter life spans, cardiovascular disease, metabolic sequalae, excess weight and a host of other maladies.

3. Health benefits of a treadmill desk are well established scientifically

4. Treadmill desks have been shown to increase a worker's attention, and working memory.

5. Walking at one's desk improves creativity.

6. The positive effects of walking and working are ongoing.

7. Employeees feel more motivated and productive when engaged by movement.

8. Studies concluding that moving while working is ineffective have been shown to be flawed in their design. 


A more comprehenive detailing is available in our research section broken down into specific areas of interest.


"We have noticed a progression of acceptance over the past six years," stated Steve Bordley, CEO of TrekDesk Treadmill Desk. "Initially the concept was met with incredulity, but now the necessity of continual movement has been scientifically proven and launched a large debate within the workplace. Science will win the debate and hundreds of studies and reports bear witness to the health risks of sitting and the advantages offered by keeping employees in motion. Methods of untethering employees from their cubicles will continue to proliferate."


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