For years I’ve been writing about the dangers of sedentary work. The research is sound: sedentary work is incredibly bad for us, it’s even said by some to being as bad as smoking. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be active while we work? And yet, most of us aren’t. We spend our days toiling away at our desks, then spend an hour at the gym (maybe), hoping against hope that that workout will undo the damage of sitting for eight long hours. Bad news: It won’t.
Enter the World of Nontraditional Desks
Treadmill desks, bicycle desks, and standing desks are all perfectly valid options in the world of non-sedentary work. There are many benefits to using these options, the most important being the reduction of sedentary work and the dangers that come with it. Other benefits include improving fitness and mood, and avoiding that mid-afternoon slump we all seem to experience.
After an unrelated hip surgery sidelined me from my treadmill desk, I turned to a bicycle desk. If you enjoy cycling, then you’ll be more likely to enjoy a bicycle desk. I like mine, but hadn’t really found one that I loved as much as I loved my treadmill desk, mostly because the desktop is fairly minimal on most bike desks, rendering them the least appropriate for me as a long-term and permanent desk.
However, I was recently given the chance to try out the DeskCycle from 3D Innovations, a cycle that fits underneath your existing desk, which is handy if you need a lot of space for books and notes like I do. I found that I needed to raise my seat up quite a bit more than normal, and I needed to find just the right placement of the cycle, so my knees didn’t hit the bottom of my desk, but once I found the right spot, I was feeling more active in no time.
And unlike other portable cycles, the DeskCycle has enough weight that it stays where you put it. I’ve tried other under-desk cycles that moved all over the place – that’s not how I want to be active!
The DeskCycle comes with an instrument to show your speed, distance, and calories burned, and you can keep it on the DeskCycle or move it up so it’s on your desk where you can see it.
So far, DeskCycle is one of my favorite devices for active work, since I get to use my own (very comfy) chair and I can keep my big desk.
Standing desks are exactly what you think they are: it’s a desk that’s tall enough for you to stand while you’re working on it. Standing desks can take some time to get used to, so a gradual approach is best, starting with standing for 20 minutes at a time, and increasing your standing time slowly. Standing desks are among the least expensive of the nontraditional desk options.
Treadmill desks, or walking desks, are a great way to transform from sedentary into active work. A treadmill desk is just as it sounds – you stand and walk slowly as you work. Many people are surprised by how quickly they adapt to a treadmill desk, clocking in as much as two or three miles per hour as they work. Treadmill desks are among the more expensive active work options, but my husband and I built mine at home at minimal cost, so I could try it out and see if I liked it.
Regardless of which option you choose, active work is much healthier than sedentary work. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find the right option for you. You’ll be glad you did!
This is a guest post written by Susan Baroncini-Moe, M.A. She is an executive coach and author who specializes in helping women to dismantle imposter syndrome, develop their leadership skills, and achieve great things. She’s the host of 2Questions.TV, The Women in Business Collective, and Menopause Moment, and lives in Indianapolis with her Uruguayan rockstar husband, Leo, and their ridiculously cute dog, Gus.