Whenever I show someone my WALK-1 treadmill desk they ask, “Can I really work like this?” The answer is YES, but you should plan for a transition period to get used to typing and performing other desk tasks while walking. You will also need some desk accessories to be successful at this new way of working. Think “wireless”.
You’re literally learning to walk and talk (and type) at the same time. There’s going to be a learning curve. According to this study published in the Public Library Of Science on Cognitive and Typing Outcomes: Implications for Treadmill Desks, your typing accuracy will likely plummet in the first week. If you stick with your training, you’ll have it back in 4-6 weeks.
While you are learning how to type and stroll, you are also building endurance for your legs. You’ll gradually walk more as you get better at typing and other tasks that require more stability. Start in small increments, listen to your body, and gradually increase your time on your feet. Remember to mix it up.
For me, reading was difficult at first, and I still don’t do long reading sessions while walking. I usually pause and stand and/or move to a lounge chair if I'm reading say a novel or a detailed contract. I make sure to get up and move every 15 minutes, even if it's just a quick stretch break. After working on a treadmill desk for two years now, I quickly feel the ill health effects of sitting start to take effect after 15 minutes in a chair. So I mix it up, sometimes doing some light stretches and sways, a yoga pose, or a walk around the building or on my treadmill.
Phone calls, webinars, conference calls, dictating - all of these tasks are easily done on a treadmill, often better than in a chair. If you listen closely you can hear when a person is speaking seated or up on their feet. People sound more assertive, present and energetic when they are up on their feet.
Think about the last time you saw a public speaker, they were likely up moving around the stage, trying to engage the audience. If you want to engage your audience, EVEN IF THEY CAN NOT SEE YOU, you’re better on your feet. You can achieve this on a treadmill or just pacing the room.
How many times have you been on a webinar or conference call in the afternoon and started to nod off. It happens to all of us (who sit for a living). But from a Treadmill Desk you’re never sleepy, you’re alert and energized all afternoon without the aid of sugary energy drinks. I find myself more focused and attentive on those calls when I’m moving, even if I’m just listening.
You will want to slow the treadmill way down when doing fine manual dexterity tasks such as handwriting or typing. The UnSit WALK-1 Treadmill can go as slow as .3 tenths of an MPH, which turns out to be a very useful speed to properly stabilize for these fine tasks. I often pause the belt and just stand for a few minutes. The purpose is not to walk fast, the purpose is to keep moving.
Depending on your fitness level and how used to being on your feet you are, you may want to take it slow for the first few weeks. Incrementally work your way up to 30-60 min sessions, and think of sitting as taking a break from spending the bulk of your time standing up.
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