July 28, 2011

Trek desk

Photo by Bob Elbert.

Study moves work from desk to treadmill

by Erin Rosacker

You've heard about walking and chewing gum. This project takes that a bit further. Researchers at the Nutrition and Wellness Research Center (NWRC) are conducting a study to evaluate a "Trek Desk" that enables people to walk while handling typically sedentary tasks -- such as reading and responding to emails -- on a treadmill equipped with a desk.

Greg Welk, associate professor in kinesiology, said the desks at the NWRC are very popular among his staff members.

"We had so much use that we had to institute a sign-in sheet to reserve walk times," Welk said.

The NWRC received five additional mobile work stations from Trek Desk Inc. and treadmills from Lifespan Fitness Inc. for a pilot project to evaluate their utility in other office units. The units are in use around campus, providing shared use opportunities in the offices of the president, vice president for research and economic development, Human Sciences dean, kineseology department and Institutional Review Board.

Welk and his team are studying the effectiveness of the desks, which log user walk sessions during the month-long trial. The desks will rotate to new office units each month. If your department is interested in participating, contact the NWRC for more information.

The study is one of the ways the NWRC group is working to promote physical activity in traditionally sedentary work areas. It also is linked to the "ExerCYse is Medicine" campaign launched by the NWRC and kinesiology department earlier this year.