Because the two parts aren’t physically connected, vibrations from the treadmill did not shake the desk. The only problem I found was that raising and lowering the heavy desk was a two-man job.
More to the point, in 15 minutes of walking on the treadmill at various speeds, I burned 56 calories and covered .42 miles in 1,185 steps, well on my way to the 10,000 steps per day that have become an informal fitness milestone.
LifeSpan CEO Peter Schenk told me the company decided to develop the device after reading blogs and seeing photos posted online by people who had created their own treadmill desks.
“I do think there has been a . . . growing awareness that even if I exercise 30 minutes a day, because I’m sitting six, eight or 10 hours a day . . . I’m really not getting the health benefits I need,” he said.
The product is aimed at lawyers, executives, doctors and others who have their own offices and want a break from sitting, Schenk said. It is designed to be used as much as six hours a day, and the company estimates that an average person walking at 1.75 mph will cover 10,000 steps and burn 500 calories in a little under three hours. That effort can be spread over an entire workday.
LifeSpan’s suggested price is $1,299.
“Comfort is key,” said Leisure Fitness store manager Chip Labbe. “If it’s not comfortable , you’re not going to use it.”
At the other end of the price spectrum is the $230 FitDesk invented by Steve Ferrusi, an engineer and entrepreneur who at first wasn’t thinking about how to counteract excessive sitting in the workplace. An avid cyclist, Ferrusi was looking for a way to log more miles as he trained for a long bike fundraising ride.
He cut a desktop from heavy foam, attached it to his bike, anchored the bike in a training roller and pedaled slowly as he worked. Believing he had stumbled on a valuable training tool, he tried marketing his idea to cyclists. They hated it. But fortunately for Ferrusi, others did not. “The truth is, that market has not warmed up to it as fast as everyone else,” Ferrusi told me. “The cyclist crowd, they’re self-motivated. This is a product for people who are not.”