advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Walking While You Work?

A friend of mine just got one of those treadmill desks - you stand up and walk all day while you work. He says it is going to help him lose weight and that there are scientific studies to show that it works. What do you think?

A
Answer (Published 8/20/2010)

According to the New York Times, the first treadmill desk was created in 1996 by a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley. But the idea began to catch on only after a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist, James Levine, M.D., devised and tested a treadmill desk in 2005 and calculated that walking while you work at a slow steady pace (less than two miles per hour) can burn 100 to 130 calories per hour. That can add up to a lot of calories if you spend several hours a day at it.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Supplements & Herbs - If you are interested in supplementing your diet, and want to take the mystery out of choosing vitamins, try Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor. Visit today for your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Recommendation.

The Mayo Clinic treadmill desk idea appears to have grown out of studies there on "nonexercise activity thermogenesis" (NEAT), which showed that lean people tend to be more restless than heavy ones and spend about two more hours a day on their feet - standing, pacing, and fidgeting - than heavy people. The investigators reported that this NEAT exercise can add up to burning about 350 calories per day, enough to result in weight loss of 30 to 40 pounds a year.

I don't know how widely treadmill desks have caught on, or if those who try them in order to lose weight stick with this change of pace long enough to lose unwanted pounds and keep them off.

Brad Lemley, editorial director of DrWeil.com, tried a brand of treadmill desk known as "TrekDesk" recently and found it "easier to use than I anticipated." The desk is designed to straddle a treadmill that is supplied by the user. He says he was able to type fairly easily; resting the heels of his hands on the desktop kept his fingers steady, so he was able to use his keyboard at his regular speed. He is considering a TrekDesk for office work, but is also experimenting with a stand-up desk:  Standing burns more calories than sitting, but not as many as walking.

I'm in favor of anything that increases the motivation to get you up and moving regularly. If you have trouble fitting exercise into your daily routine, a treadmill desk may be the answer if you've got an office set-up that will allow for it. If not, you could try one at home to see if using it regularly for an hour or two while you're on the computer makes a difference in your weight.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here