See What people are saying about the Treadmill Desk!


With Karl Stefanovic & Dr Ric Gordon







Sarah Berry - published May 30, 2013


Don't fall off your perch, but sitting is the new smoking and your chair is out to kill you.  No, really.  This is the sorry state of affiars thanks to our increasingly seated existence, said Doctors in an LA Times feature published earlier this week.  As evidence, the Coctors pointed ut various studies, including this Australian one from last year which found that every hour of (seated) TV watching we do cuts about 22 minutes from our lifespan.  That was contrasted with this study which estimated that smokers shorten their lives by about 11 minutes per cigarette.


Seated smokers beware!


But it's not just longevity that is affected by our idle ways.  We spend as much as 80 per cent of our working day sedentary and unsurprisingly a similar percentage of Australians experience back pain.


Being sedentary is also putting the "sit" in obesity, as our fat burning furnaces essentially switch off when we're stationary for extended periods.  Some research even suggesets that it leads to the dreaded middle age spread by the mechanical pressure sitting puts on our fat cells.  "Sitting may have more to do with obesity than (lack of) physical activity", says Professor Adrian Bauman of Sydney University's School of Public Health.


"It is almost like sort of owning a really cool sports car and letting it idle all day long", James Levine, an obesity expert from the Mayo Clinic resent told NBC News.  "the engine gets gunked up.  That's what happens to our bodies.  The body as we know simply isn't built to sit all day".


Rather than back in the good ol' days we ere out doing what our bodies were made for; foraging for food performing various other physical tasks and spending our time in the fresh air and sunchine.  "We had no concept of this as 'exercise' or 'working out'.  It was just life," says author of Personal Paleo Code - Chris Kresser.


Many of us try to counteract the complications of being strangely seated all day by doing some star jumps (or whatever) in the morning or evening.  But important as any exercise is, short sharp bursts don't necessarily offset the imbalance.  "Going for a run or walking the dog doesn't counter (inactivity), "Bauman says, "It's about total energy expenditure across the whole day".


This is the conclusion Levine has to to as well.


"A few years ago, I would have actually said to you, you know, the person who's doing that session at the gym once a day is doing everything they need to do.  But the data that are now coming up cuggests that's not the case", he sadi.  "Being sedentary for nine hours a day at the office is bad for your health whether you go home and watch television afterwards or hit the gym.  It is bad whether you are mibidly obese or marathon-runner thin.  It appears that what is critical and maybe even more important than going to the gym, is breaking up sitting time".  That said, Bauman points out that "the evidence is evolving about sitting rather than a done deal".


The reason for this is threefold.


The first question experts in the field have it how much of an independent risk sitting is from eating badly, smoking and general physical inactivity.


"I don't think it will ever be as much of a risk as smoking", Baumann says.  But, "how much sitting is bad for us?....Probably somewhere between 8 and 12 hours a day and the risk accumulates.  "Is it the way we sit - continuously - and can we break up sitting - get up every hour - or do we need to reduce the total time?"


Among the solutions being bandied about are walking meetings, active sitting on yoga balls and the standing or treadmill desk.


As seen in the Sydney Morning Herald on 16th July 2013


Drop kilos and earn money at the same time


July 16, 2013


Christine D'Mello



It's used in the White House and by Google and now it's come to Australia. But Mike Quinn was skeptical when he was first approached about marketing the treadmill desk in Australia.

"Initially we thought 'this can't be true'," says Sydney-based Quinn, owner of gym equipment firm Infiniti Fitness.

Indeed, the ability to burn calories while you work seems too good to be true for most fitness buffs. But this is exactly what you can do with a novel invention known as the treadmill desk.

"The idea is to get everybody off their chairs while they work," says Vanessa Dunne, Infiniti's sales and marketing co-ordinator.


The concept of this alternative workspace gained, ahem, traction with Quinn when reports started filtering in from the United States that the treadmill desk had been sold to the White House, Google, and a number of high-ranking companies.


In Australia, a medical company, a film production company, a travel insurance firm and physiotherapists are among those who have purchased treadmill desks so far, which costs between $1899 and $3499 per unit.

Psychologist Ian Collett bought a treadmill desk in February this year. Both he and wife Gillian use it.


"I use it for work on the computer, at about two kilometres per hour, slightly faster for internet work and faster for exercise benefit."

However, Collett says he finds it cumbersome to record the data about how fast and far he goes. "When two people use it we have to keep resetting the data."


He says he has lost weight, no longer has back trouble and spends less time sitting at a chair. "It's a real buzz to see how far you walked and calories burned while completing work."


Jacqueline Cameron, head of legal and compliance, retirement living for the financial services group Australian Unity, has been using the treadmill desk for a month. After recently having a baby, she decided to buy one for her office, for exercise purposes and to reduce health complications from sitting for so much of the working day.

"For me, it's about moving, because sitting down is really quite evil for the body," Cameron says. She's upped her speeds from two kilometres to four kilometres an hour since she first started using it.


According to Cameron, the one downside is people constantly stopping to ask her what it is when they see it in her office. "I've stuck something on the door [that explains what it is] but no one reads it, they just want to talk to me about it."


She also says she wears trousers rather than skirts to work and her boss has commented that she's the only person in the office who changes from court shoes into trainers when she arrives.

It's not recommended people use the treadmill desk all day. Dunne says people generally use it sporadically, from two hours at a time to six hours. "One client says he got on it and he didn't realise how long he'd been on it for."


User safety is a question that naturally springs to mind. "We have a safety key that is clipped onto you and as soon as that is pulled, the treadmill shuts down," says Dunne. It also has a feature called Intelli-Guard: if the treadmill doesn't register a step for 20 seconds, it shuts down automatically.

"If it's a corporate environment and you don't want your staff going too fast on it, you can set the speed for a certain limit," Dunne says.

The treadmill desk is a natural evolution for Quinn, who introduced a fitness system called the Exa Gym - remember those on morning TV? - to Australia in the '80s.


Arriving from New Zealand in 1982, he adopted the tactic of in-home demonstrations to market the Exa Gym. From there, his business grew into one of the first specialty fitness retail stores in Australia.


Quinn recognised the potential for a new fitness equipment wholesaler, which saw the birth of Infiniti Fitness and started importing equipment in 1986, sourcing most of his products from Taiwan, travelling there regularly to establish ties with his manufacturers.


"I decided there was a definite gap in the market as no one seemed to provide the quality of product or service I needed as a retailer and this is what motivated me."


Over the decades, he has introduced a number of novel products to Australia including the health walker, the ab shaper and the total trainer. So does he see potential in the treadmill desk?


"We have attended a few trade shows and there has been keen interest," says Quinn.


His firm is the sole provider of these treadmill desks nationwide, and has been approached by potential customers in New Zealand and Thailand.

Infiniti visualises the fitness market staying steady over the next financial year without any significant growth. "For our business, we expect to keep relatively on par with the previous financial year and expect a slight increase in sales," says Dunne.


Infiniti's current marketing plan is heavily focused on the new range of treadmill desks. It has three models in the market and hopes to sell about 400 units this calendar year.


"We will be participating in more office furniture exhibitions to get these products out into the market. Having already exhibited at Design Ex in Melbourne in early June, our next show will be In Design in Sydney in August," says Dunne.


On Infiniti's radar are retailers who sell ergonomic desks. The target clientele covers a broad range - home offices, workplaces that have customer service centres, call centres and physios, among others.


"Fitness as a market has certainly seen some growth in recent years, but we have also seen a shrinking of the specialty fitness market as retail has struggled in the current economic climate and businesses from outside this market have also diluted the pool," she says.


"Margin expectations in this type of environment have certainly changed for both retail and wholesale to be competitive while remaining profitable against the rising overheads associated with any business."


Dunne says Infiniti has built its reputation on the service it provides to its customers, both wholesale and consumer. "The art of customer service is certainly something that has been lost in this age and is something that will make or break a business."