We have seen underwater exercise bikes, ellipticals that you can take on the road and horse riding fitness machines. It seems that the manufacturers of fitness equipment are trying to encourage everyone to exercise. The latest gimmick (or is it serious?) is the TrekDesk. A combination of an office desk and a treadmill.
The product specifications state that the idea is that you walk on the treadmill while working, and not run. The product for sale is actually only the desk, and not the treadmill too – “attaches to almost any treadmill“. So, not all treadmills can be used with the TrekDesk. Possibly earlier versions came with a treadmill too, but it seems that the current model is just a desk that can fit over most treadmill models.
The desk features a manuscript holders, filing folders, a telephone stand, two cup holders and can support 55 pounds of equipment – so will comfortably take the weight of a computer and monitor.
The TrekDesk has been featured on several news channels in the USA already and has recently appeared in the UK on the MailOnline website. Although it is extremely gimmicky, there may indeed be some merit to it. Some health scientists believe that we think better when we are exercising. Some businesses have already taken this idea on board with walking meetings. Some companies have even take the step to employ a Chief Exercise Officer (although the idea has not exactly taken off).
Gail Johnson, writing for The Globe and Mail in August 2012, said that “activity can make you a more focused, productive employee or leader“. Most research has focused on the internal health benefits of exercise (reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, strokes, cancer etc.), but our brains become more effective during and after exercise too.
“A meta-analysis of several studies examining the link between exercise and cognition in adults, meanwhile, found that physical activity has the greatest impact on “executive control,” which includes tasks such as scheduling, planning and multitasking, as well as working memory.” Gail Johnson, August 2012.
Prof. Stuart Biddle from the University of Loughborough believes that office workers would be more productive, and healthier, if they abandoned their chairs completely. His advice is for workers to put their computers on the nearest filing cabinet and work standing up.
So, what does TrekDesk actually say to support their new product? Steve Bordley, the CEO of TrekDesk Treadmill Desk, says that the biggest problem that many office workers face today is simply a lack of time to exercise.
He certainly has a good point. While younger workers can usually find the time before or after work, many working parents just do not have this luxury. Once a person starts a family, the most important after work activity is getting home to see your children and help with dinner (if you are lucky) and bedtime. This leaves little or not time for exercise.
This is Not a New Product!
But, is this new? No! TrekDesk has been on the market for around 2 years already. It seems that some clever marketing has pushed this into the news again. After some research we found a National Public Radio interview with the CEO of TrekDesk Treadmill Desks, Steve Bordle, from November 2010. Also in 2010, Bruce Pechman, the “Muscleman of Technology“, reviewed the TrekDesk.
In the review Bruce walked at 1 mph and reported that he had burned 150 Calories in 40 minutes. “A slow burn is very beneficial to the body” – Bruce Pechman.
It also appeared on news channels in June 2012, then again in August 2012. You can see a few videos below.
Steve Bordle Recovers From Injury With TrekDesk
The CEO of TrekDesk explained to Fox News’ Clayton Morris at the BlogWorld Expo that he used to be an active guy until he got seriously injured. He came up with the idea of TrekDesk as a way to recover from his injury and overcome his health issues. He got back problems after trying to use a bike. In the first month that he used TrekDesk he lost 25 pounds and his back pain improved.
But is it really practical? In truth, the answer is no. Maybe for some professions it could work, such as those who just use the telephone a lot. But if you have to multitask, work using computers, a lot of paperwork and telephones, then it is not going to be practical. Also, few companies will be able to afford to provide all employees with a TrekDesk.
What do I think? Well, having worked for 12 years in many offices in and around London, I really cannot see how this will be practical in any office. The cost is too high, entire offices will have to be refurbished just to accommodate this equipment and many people will simply not use it. If you wish to promote health at work it is better to encourage people to take more breaks, and to leave the office at lunchtime for a stroll. It is, alas, another gimmick which will appeal to a few wealthy people, but it is not going to revolutionize how people work.
TrekDesk is currently available from Amazon.com.
“Even a short walk can boost ‘executive control’” by Gail Johnson, The Global Mail, Aug. 28 2012.
Treadmill Desk from TrekDesk At BlogWorld Expo
In this video Steve Bordle explains that using a TrekDesk can help take 10,000 steps a day, which can reduce risk of heart disease by 90% and cut risks of diabetes and other chronic illnesses.
N.B. BlogWorld Expo is now New Media Expo.