Victoria Beckham famously went viral when she posted a picture of her working whilst walking (in heels!) at a treadmill desk, with the caption: “Every office should have one of these, work out and work at the same time!! Genius!!” Sarah Blake puts the Walkolution Treadmill Desk to the test to discover for herself if this is really possible.
Indeed, the number of companies ditching the traditional desk in favour of treadmill desks is on the rise, pioneered by the likes of Google, Apple, and Microsoft. But where the treadmill desk industry has really come into its own, is with the supply of walking workstations to those who work from home. The industry’s market share has experienced exponential growth in 2020 as a result of the global shift to ‘work from home’, ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With lockdown 2.0 looming, meaning impending gym closures, and winter days taking some of the pleasure away from outdoor walks, the idea of a treadmill desk began to really appeal to me. As a freelance writer, I work from home even during non-pandemic times. I’m an avid gym-goer, but the majority of my day is spent not moving very much; something that has gone from being a niggling concern to a genuine worry.
Dr James Levine famously dubbed “sitting the new smoking”, referencing evidence that the 75% of us who sit for longer than six hours a day are at greater risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and back pain. Sedentary lifestyles cost the NHS £700m a year and, according to 2019 research by Queen’s University Belfast, 69,000 deaths in 2016 could have been prevented if people spent less time sitting. These sobering statistics served to propel me from being tempted by a treadmill desk, to being completely sold on the idea.
But if I was going to spend long periods of my working day walking, well, I wanted to do it in style. And so, enter the Walkolution MTF700R’ Wanderlust’. Quite possibly the most beautiful treadmill desk in the world.
In theory, the £4k+ Walkolution treadmill desk sounded like the holy grail of, not only lockdown but of home working life in general. But in practice? Admittedly, I embarked on my working workout ‘adventure’ with a good dose of scepticism. Given my woefully sedentary lifestyle, I was excited about the virtues extolled by team treadmill desk.
Excited; but struggling to be convinced that I would actually be able to concentrate on writing at the same time as walking. Would I even be able to type properly? Would my legs start to ache? Did I have the patience to persevere if it seemed impossible at first?
And then there’s the price tag. Winner of the German Design Awards 2021, the Walkolution really is a work of art. I can’t believe I’m saying this about a treadmill, but it’s stunning. Made from beech wood and birchwood, the Walkolution has a natural-elastic walking surface and can be used barefoot. And it doesn’t have a motor; it’s powered entirely by body weight and the movement of your legs, which means that it’s not only super-duper quiet, but also maintenance-free and incredibly easy to use.
Dr Eric Söhngen, co-founder and CEO of Walkolution, said: “We are the only non-electric treadmill desk on the world market. The global lockdowns have led to a significant increase in the order volume of Walkolution. The treadmills are already shipped to more than 35 countries, and that is set to increase in 2021.”
There’s no doubting the credentials of the Walkolution, but is it worth £4k? If I’d been asked that question during week one with my active workstation, I would have said that the jury’s out. The slow pace required when using a treadmill desk is actually harder to master than it sounds. Well, it was for me.
A ‘normal’ walking pace is around three miles an hour. The walking pace recommended when using a treadmill desk is only one-mile hour. I kept walking too fast, which made it hard to concentrate properly and, generally, made working tricky. I also hadn’t set the work surface to quite the right height, which meant that my back started to ache a little. But I realised my error, rectified it, and got practised at slowing my pace right down. Oh, and I used the Walkolution in bite-sized chunks, slowly increasing the time I spent on it.
By week three, I was a convert. Honestly, I could be using the treadmill desk for up to two hours and ‘forget’ that I was walking. And boy did I feel better; both physically and mentally.
Research has found that the benefits of treadmill desks include:
- Improved mood
- Reduced stress
- Increased creativity
- Increased productivity
- Improved circulation
- Improved posture
- Improved digestion
- Maintenance of a healthy body weight
- Reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes
- Reduced blood pressure
- Maintenance of bone strength
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Increased life expectancy
It goes without saying that my new way of working is for life, not just for lockdown. So, is the Walkolution worth its £4k price tag? Yes, I really think it is.
This feature was written by Sarah Blake.
Walkolution – Where and how?
For more information on the Walkolution and details on how to purchase, please visit www.walkolution.com.
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