We snooze our alarms and wake up late only to realise that not only have we missed our morning run but are also running quite late for work. What follows is even tragic as most of us manage with just a miserable first meal of the day. We rush to the office, get entangled in a series of meetings, eat at our own desk, skip the stairs, take the elevator, then the cab... In short, we end up doing nothing much for our already rusting body!
Under such circumstances, what seems to be the messiah of people leading such sedentary lifestyle is the walking workstation. For those who are ever busy, or probably too tired to hit the gym, a treadmill workstation sets out to bring fitness to your office. You can now work and walk at the same time!
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The concept is not new at all; in fact many global offices are already encouraging the trend in their office premises. Some of the companies include Google, Microsoft, Evernote, Hyatt and Marriott. As the trend is growing and spreading globally, there has been much debate about the pros and cons of the equipment. While most say that it may prove as an effective way to encourage some sort of physical activity for the otherwise physically inactive professionals, many believe that it may also end up hampering their professional performance by inducing distractions or lack of focus.
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Despite all the criticism and difference in opinions researchers at from McGill University, Canada believe that treadmill workstations can make office work a lot more comfortable. They can help reduce neck and shoulder muscle pain associated with computer work.
"Even though office workers may not naturally see it that way, their body is basically their work instrument, just as it is for an athlete," said one of the researchers Julie Cote from McGill University in Canada. "It can get injured in similar ways and for similar reasons: overuse of certain muscles," Cote said.
Typing while walking can reduce muscle activity in the neck and shoulder, showed the findings published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.
For the study, the researchers asked participants to complete a 90-minute typing task while walking or sitting, while they measured muscle activity in the neck, shoulders, forearms, wrists and lower back. The researchers discovered that there was lower but more variable neck and shoulder muscle activity when participants were walking compared with sitting, all of which translates into less discomfort. Researchers have estimated that muscular and skeletal stresses and pains would affect one in ten office workers at some point in their careers.
"Whether you are a computer worker or a middle-distance runner, injuries happen when you tense a particular muscle or group of muscles for too long, and the blood cannot flow into the region as it should and regenerate the muscles," Cote said. "Bodies are made to move," she said.Inputs from IANS