Victoria Beckham Is Right: Treadmill Desks Are Awesome, Study Says

Photo via PLOS One.

Photo via PLOS ONE

It’s been a big week for treadmill desks. First, former Spice Girl (is that the correct attribution anymore?) Victoria Beckham totally took a page out of my book and discovered the joy of walking while working. Of course, she did so in five-inch heels, but that’s neither here nor there.

Now there’s a new study out which found that walking on a treadmill while you work is more than just fun: It actually boosts work performance. In the study, researchers found that while productivity takes a bit of a hit when treadmill desks are first introduced (something I found in my monthlong experiment, too, since you have to adjust to the new work set up), subjects eventually got used to the machines and found that walking while working actually increased their productivity, boosting their overall job performance. The results were tallied based on self-reported surveys and surveys from advisors.

The study also looked at the calorie burn that results from walking while working. Here’s the sort-of bummer: It wasn’t a ton. Subjects averaged a burn of an extra 74 calories a day, compared to when they sat all day. That comes out to 370 extra calories burned over the course of the work week. Of course, it was up to employees to decide how much or little they wanted to walk, the average being about an hour per day, according to the results, so it stands to reason that if you walked more, you’d burn more.

The other interesting finding on the calorie front was that the walking while working didn’t come at the expense of after-work physical activities. In other words, people didn’t use the desks as an excuse to skip their gym plans, meaning that the extra 370 calories was on top of what they were already burning off. And, hey, that’s not for nothing.

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