Details recently launched a “walkstation” which is essentially a computer workstation positioned above a treadmill (pdf brochure). I first saw and coveted this idea back in March of 2006 on Brad Feld’s post about his magnificent “Treadputer.” I still think Brad’s set up is better if you are interested in rigorous training.
The walkstation is designed for the otherwise sedentary population. Unlike conventional treadmills the walkstation has a maximum speed of about 2 miles per hour and is designed to minimize vibration and disruption to work. I think the idea is that people forget that they are not sitting. I suspect that the slow pace is better than simply standing. The science behind this design was the study that showed the people that fidget burn far more calories per day than those that are more sedentary. The walkstation creates the opportunity for us all to fidget and is part of the Mayo Clinic’s prototype office of the future.
The global trend toward obesity is simply staggering. In 2005, more than 1.6 billion people world wide were either overweight or obese, with 2.4 billion predicted by 2015. The health care costs related to obesity are skyrocketing. Even back in 2002, the medical costs associated with obesity related illness, dwarfed those of heavy smokers and heavy drinkers. Some are proposing we initiate a campaign to stamp out obesity much like we have irradicated most smoking. Something about how we live and how we eat must change to halt and reverse this global trend. Perhaps the walkstation or other workplace innovations can help.