We got the bad news last year. MoneyWatch: “Sitting all day is killing you.” MSNBC: “You sitting down? Experts say it’ll kill you.” Buzzfeed: “Sitting Down WILL Kill You.” You get the idea. The short version of all the research is that sitting for more than six hours a day is highly correlated with obesity, and even death. In response, new-fangled “active workstations” including like treadmill desks suddenly seemed not just cool but life-saving. Well, I hope you’re sitting down, because it turns out that your treadmill desk could kill you, too — and it won’t take decades to do so.
MarketWatch has the (kinda hilarious) story about all the ways that “active workstations” are going wrong. A woman who works for Toyota fell off her treadmill within the first few weeks of procuring it. Documented treadmill injuries (whether at home or at the office) include sprains, chest contusions, and “foot lacerations.” Others report terrible Achilles tendon pain and severe static shocks. People who use stationery bike work stations report their knees often hit the undersides of their desks.
Not to mention these lesser problems:
- Fine motor skills like mouse clicking deteriorate by about 11% while walking on a treadmill. Cognitive function, too.
- Typing speed and accuracy slow by about 16%.
- Lower back strain is common among users of stability balls.
- Running all day makes you sweat.
- Imagine wearing high heels on a treadmill.
- A 2009 study found that stability balls don’t actually improve posture.
- You risk looking like an idiot: A Chicago data scientist who uses a stability ball tells MarketWatch he has never fallen completely off the ball, but he has a “close call” about once a month.
OK, so maybe your active workstation won’t actually kill you, though it could certainly weaken you. But don’t worry, you probably won’t have it for long anyway. A University of Iowa study found that when stationery bikes were offered as an alternative to traditional work stations, just 19% of workers were still biking after a month.