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Treadmill Desks: Healthy or Hype For Sedentary Lawyers?

By Kelly Cheung | Last updated on

There's a new trend in office furniture. It's the treadmill desk. Basically you are walking on a treadmill with an attached desk in front of you. It's part of a movement to decrease sedentary lifestyle while boosting health and increasing productivity while at work.

Thanks to Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic, treadmills are getting dusted off and finding a new use now as treadmill desks become the new trend in geek culture. These desks have been sprouting up lately and perhaps you've noticed them in your office.

The treadmill desks are sold with a lower speed treadmill, so you are not running while working. If you catch a glimpse of one in an office, you will find they look really goofy and take up a ton of space. However, before we dismiss this as a fad, maybe it can be the thing that will be life-changing for you. Or is it just hype to sell us yet another treadmill we store in the spare room?

If you're considering taking charge of your health and work environment, maybe you should give the treadmill desk a try. The supposed health benefits are much needed as obesity is still a problem in this sedentary lifestyle many of us suffer from.


Dr. James Levine is leading the movement to get people off their chairs and either stand or walk while they work. Levine is an endocrinologist studying calorie burning and inactivity science who personally treadmill walks while in his office. He studied how people burn their calories doing the simple things of daily life.

Dr. Levine found that lean people burned about 350 more calories than their heavier counterparts by staying active doing everyday things like walking uphill to school and getting up to change the TV channel.

News sources like USA Today report studies finding a sedentary lifestyle increases health risks like heart disease, diabetes, and even early death. Dr. Levine's followers have reported increased benefits from walking instead of sitting at work. They range from heightened energy and focus to weight loss and even more passion.

It can really benefit lawyers to adopt a more active lifestyle. With so many billable hours churned daily, where is the time to exercise? Attorneys can master their multi-tasking abilities by adding mild exercise to the work day.


So with all the great benefits to your health and work productivity, why aren't we all dusting off our old treadmills?

Prices are expensive at $4,000 for the model that Dr. Levine specially designed for Steelcase. If you already have a treadmill, you can find attachable desks to your desk like TrekDesk. Standing desks are also a more affordable alternative that can still help burn more calories than sitting.

Others are finding DIY ways to try this trend out. Some are building makeshift desks out of old computer boxes to throw on top of an old treadmill. There are also attachments to turn your old treadmill into a treadmill desk at a fraction of the Steelcase price.

This trend may not be for everyone though. At the very least, making slight changes to the work day can help like walking up the stairs instead of the elevator. Making an effort to stand more often and taking mini-breaks from the office chair during work can't hurt either. Dr. Levine would find any movement to be more beneficial than sblogitting for any prolonged time.

One attorney reported to the Pocono Record that she felt her weight increase as she spent more time in front of her computer instead of walking down the hall to hand deliver notes to her secretary. Technology changed how often she has to move from her desk. Since trying the standing desk five years ago, she has no regrets.

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