As all-around fans of workplace wellness, we spend lots of time monitoring the health initiatives and wellness trends that arise every few years.
One of the biggest developments in workplace wellness, the treadmill desk, has grown popular in the last few years, with manufacturers releasing new models and workplaces embracing the new work stations.
But are treadmill desks really worth the investment? We’re weighing the pros and cons today.
Treadmill Desks: Worth the Cost?
Benefits of Active Workstations
There are some proven advantages of using treadmill desks, which include health benefits as well as increases in productivity.
In terms of health, many studies suggest that the benefits of treadmill desks are plentiful. Not only does their use help individuals burn more calories, it also improves metabolism and heart health, lowers blood pressure, increases the quality of sleep, helps with brain function, and can reduce back pain. They also help improve mental health.
When it comes to productivity, some research supports the fact that treadmill desks actually make workers more productive. One yearlong study conducted by professor Avner Ben-Ner found that quality and quantity of work performance went up, as well as the quality of interpersonal relationships with coworkers, when individuals used treadmill desks.
Drawbacks to the Treadmill Desk
Does this mean you need to rush out and purchase treadmill workstations for your office right now? Not so fast. Recent research suggests that they aren’t entirely foolproof for wellness.
Some studies have found that use of treadmill desks actually inhibited cognition. Other researchers have noted that though treadmill desks do help people engage in more physical activity, it is generally light physical activity, as most individuals do not want to exert much effort (or get too sweaty!) while at work. Though better than remaining sedentary, light physical activity should not be a stand-in for exercise.
Given the cost and the physical space required to accommodate a treadmill desk, it’s hard to say whether they are a worthy workplace wellness investment.
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