Treadmill desks can't replace regular exercise: Study

New York: Just replacing your traditional workstation with treadmill desks cannot reverse the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle, a new study has found.

Treadmill desks can help overweight or obese office workers get out of their chairs and get moving, but the 12-week study found that the increase in physical activity was too small to offer as much benefits as daily exercise can.

"Treadmill desks are not an effective replacement for regular exercise, and the benefits of the desks may not justify the cost and other challenges that come with implementing them," said John Schuna Jr, assistant professor at Oregon State University.

Treadmill desks have been gaining popularity as a solution for helping sedentary workers out of their desk chairs during the work day.

Workers who used the desks increased their average number of daily steps by more than 1,000, but did not record any significant weight loss or changes in Body Mass Index (BMI) after 12 weeks.

The employees only used the treadmills about half the time they were asked to, averaging one session and 45 minutes a day on the machines, Schuna said.

The study targeted overweight and obese office workers whose jobs at a private health insurance company required continuous desk work.

About 40 employees participated in the 12-week study, with half using the treadmills and the other half serving as a control group for comparison.

The study appeared in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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