We are often asked whether a treadmill desk will boost or inhibit productivity. The clinical evidence continues to mount showing that walking while working not only increases productivity but cognitive abilities as well. Conversely, sitting causes the brain to actually shrink in size along with a host of negative mental consequences including depression, anxiety, lack of focus, and declines in memory and cognition.
NPR released a story today titled “Can You Move It and Work IT On a Treadmill Desk” that examines not only the health hazards of sitting but also the increase in productivity experienced by users of company treadmill desks. One company in particular, Salo, participated in a six month study where employees rotated among treadmill desks totaling three hours of daily use on average. The result? Salo actually experienced record revenues for the company during the study period. Additionally total cholesterol decreased for all study participants and they all lost weight. “Remarkable,” quipped the Salo representative. “We didn’t even go to a gym. We just went to work!”
Studies out of the University of Illinois among previously sedentary seniors found that walking 10,000 steps per day (5 miles) over a period of 6 months led to a 15% increase in cognitive abilities and memory. Even more startling, their small blood vessel production inside their brains increased by 43%.
The field of sedentary science is undertaking a number of studies nationwide to measure the impact of walking on productivity and cognition which will give employers further evidence that keeping their employees seated is not only harming their health but their bottom line as well.