VIDEO: Forget the standing desk, here's what science says about the treadmill workstation

TReadmill at work. Screen shot. McGill University

Standing desks have become popular as a way of coping with office work without damage to the body from sitting all day.

However, too much standing isn’t that good for you either. So care is needed. Take a look at these recommendations HERE.

And now treadmill work stations are growing in popularity. But are they any better than standing desks and are they even good for you?

Ergonomics researcher Julie Cote, of McGill University in Canada, wants to find ways to reduce or prevent muscular and skeletal stresses and pains which affect one in 10 office workers.

“Even though office workers may not naturally see it that way, their body is basically their work instrument, just as it is for an athlete,” says Cote. “It can get injured in similar ways and for similar reasons: overuse of certain muscles.”

One of her current experiments is treadmill desks.

“These workstations may be good for getting people moving and losing weight, but no-one has looked into how this kind of posture affects the muscles in the neck, shoulders and lower back,” she says.

Watch the treadmill desk experiment:

In the experiment, volunteers were asked to do a 90-minute typing task while walking or sitting. The researchers measured muscle activity in the neck, shoulders, forearms, wrists and lower back.

They found that there was lower but more variable neck and shoulder muscle activity when people walked than when they sat. This means less discomfort.

So treadmill work stations are potentially helpful in reducing neck and shoulder muscle pain associated with computer work.

“Whether you’re a computer worker or a middle-distance runner, injuries happen when you tense a particular muscle or group of muscles for too long, and the blood can`t flow into the region as it should and regenerate the muscles,” says Cote.

“Bodies are made to move.”

Her solution to reducing muscle pain for office workers is: make minor movements and adjustments of position every few minutes.

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