Treadmill Desks are Better Than Standing Desks

Article referenced: MacEwen et al., “A systematic review of standing and treadmill desks in the workplace” Preventive Medicine , Volume 70, January 2015, Pages 50–58

Standing desks are often all the hype because they are relatively easy to set up in the workplace. I’ve noticed this myself after using both, that having a walking / treadmill desk is actually easier to use than a standing desk. And according to this study, treadmill desks are also significantly better for your health than a standing desk alone. It’s not the only study to come to that conclusion, and basically any study on basic exercise and physical activity will likely say the same. Moving increases circulation, which increases oxygen, which increases function. The brain in particular, when under higher oxygen conditions such as after exercising, is flooded in BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF is almost like a miracle protein in that it helps to heal damage, prevent Alzheimers, make connections, and basically just do all sort of good things for the hippocampus and brain. (REFERENCE) This is why learning something new, like a different language, is more efficient in about the half hour after you’ve worked out and still have this high BDNF concentrations. So… back to the treadmill desk. If working out gives such good benefits for post workout studying, I maintain that if you keep a low level of exercise prolonged throughout your work, you may get some of the same effects. You won’t get that kind of benefit from standing desks alone because standing doesn’t work to increase circulation as much. Oh, and the paper I originally referenced also sums it up quite well: “Treadmill desks led to the greatest improvement in physiological outcomes including postprandial glucose, HDL cholesterol, and anthropometrics, while standing desk use was associated with few physiological changes.” Sorry standing desks, you’re awesome, but you’re not as awesome as a treadmill desk.

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