Conference Room Cardio: Firm Stands Behind Walking Meetings

Work out while working? Why not?

Catching some zzz's in the death trap. (Photo: Richard Ross/Getty Images)
Sal holds a political science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.

Salo, a Minneapolis-based financial staffing company, is taking the tried-and-true corner-office mandate of “no sitting down on the job” to a whole new healthy level.

In a conference room the company has arranged four treadmill desks that face each other around a height-adjustable working surface, reports The New York Times.

“It took a bit of adjustment,” said Salo’s Craig Dexheimer. “It’s normal to walk and talk at the gym, but in an office setting it was a bit strange at first.” In a separate room, Salo has set up six treadmill desks, complete with computers. Employees are free to use them for a session of walking and working.

Salo’s decision to embrace the burgeoning “move while you work” culture comes on the heels of several reports that sitting down for long periods of time can be hazardous to your health, according to Time.

– A 2010 editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that those who sit for prolonged periods have a higher risk of disease than those who move a muscle every now and then in a non-exercise manner, such as walking up the stairs to grab a cup of coffee.

– Researchers at the American Cancer Society found that even if you exercise nearly every day, those health benefits can be undone if you spend the rest of your time on your keister.

– Scientists at the University of Missouri have found that the act of sitting seems to shut off the circulation of a fat-absorbing enzyme called lipase.

– A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that sitting for long stretches, more than six hours a day, can make someone at least 18 percent more likely to die from diabetes, heart disease and obesity than those sitting less than three hours a day.

– Scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana analyzed the lifestyles of more than 17,000 men and women over about 13 years, and found that people who sit for most of the day are 54% more likely to die of heart attacks.

Salo’s walk-if-you-want-to-meetings are but the latest ante in the deskerciser arms race. First came a bunch of stories on stand-up desks and ball chairs. Then, this summer, the Elliptical Machine Office Desk, went on sale at Hammacher Schlammer.

You’d think that the author of three stories on the ill effects of sitting down for extended periods would have learned his lesson. Sadly, I haven’t. Sadly, I wrote this post from my desk firmly planted on my keister. So pardon me while I end it early and take a walk around the block.

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