Written by Terry Nguyen
Arianna Huffington has always been curious about the relationship between productivity and well-being.
The Huffington Post founder's latest venture, Thrive Global, and its accompanying book, Thrive, attempts to understand this connection between work and life, and she says the workplace environment is key to maintaining a balance of wellness while juggling the unpredictable elements of stress.
Huffington has always been a proponent of treadmill desks and standing desks. “At our offices, all the desks can be adjusted to become standing desks, and we also have a treadmill desk and a nap pod,” she said in an interview with Lifehacker.
Although it is a bit of a stretch to attribute success to owning a treadmill desk, Huffington's testimony is not unique among highly successful individuals. Late night host Jimmy Kimmel and Cosmopolitan editor Joanne Coles are a few proud owners of this tech craze.
Buying a treadmill desk might not equate to success, but through the successful and productive lives lead by these individuals, it is evident that there are a few positive habits and lifestyle changes that can arise from walking while working.
They focus on personal health.
Huffington and many successful individuals have attributed their personal and professional growth to their focus on health. Research from the Harvard Business Review also show that if an individual overly prioritizes work and neglects their health (through sleep deprivation and lack of exercise), their workplace mentality and attitude will be negatively affected.
Society has conditioned employees to expect themselves to work around the clock, but a focus on personal health can lead to unparalleled creative and mental growth. A focus on personal health should be the foundation of an individual's workplace lifestyle — it should be more than a mere life habit — and can lead to changes for the better.
They distance themselves from distraction.
Often times, work might not be extremely productive if you are just sitting staring at a screen all day. Walking while working allows one to not only move their muscles, but to get their mind flowing alongside physical movement. There are hundreds of distractions that kill workplace productivity and creativity — a study from CareerBuilder found that the Internet and social media are a few of the top ten distractions in the workplace.
Although walking on a treadmill desk might not curb your social media usage, walking engages an individual's mind, even if they are doing work simultaneously. Research has shown that light exercise can rejuvenate your mind and provide the basis for a stronger, more productive work ethic.
Sitting in a cubicle is also number 10 on the list of workplace distractions, which is strange because so many individuals spend their time working in this manner. A treadmill desk disrupts this workplace monotony and stimulates activity and productiveness — why so many successful individuals attribute to its usefulness beyond health.
They plan out the day's activities.
To be successful, one must always look ahead, whether that be one day or one year in the future. Chinese philosopher Confucius once said, “A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.”
By planning out the day's activities, you can easily envision what you need to accomplish and start your day with a motivated mindset. It also creates a sense of commitment to finishing your to-do list that would not happen if you did not plan it out beforehand.
Although this habit is true for many who might not walk while working, walking helps your thoughts flow from your brain to your laptop, and can therefore help you cement your ideas into an attainable goal.
A New Yorker article explains that, “When we stroll, the pace of our feet naturally vacillates with our moods and the cadence of our inner speech; at the same time, we can actively change the pace of our thoughts by deliberately walking more briskly or by slowing down.” If you are in control of your thoughts and have a set list of things to accomplish at the start of your day, walking while working will heighten your sense of productivity and help you be one step closer to success.