Do You Actually Want a Strolling Pad For Your Workplace?

The idea of walking while you work (watch TV, scroll, or read) has taken the fitness corners of social media by storm thanks to the growing popularity of the walking pad. At first glance, the walking pad looks like your average treadmill, however, it’s designed to make your sedentary job a thing of the past.

If you have a desk job, you likely spend the majority of the day sitting down. Unfortunately, prolonged sitting can have negative consequences such as tight hips and back, deep vein thrombosis, and even weight gain.

The good news is, walking pads can keep you moving during your workday as you answer emails or attend meetings. Studies show that using a walking pad while working can lower stress, improve mood, and reduce your waistline.

“A walking pad, also known as a treadmill desk or under-desk treadmill, offers several benefits for individuals seeking to incorporate more movement into their daily routine while working or at home,” shares Holly McGrath, Owner of C3 Lifestyle: Core.Connection.Confidence, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and Pelacore Method Master Trainer.

When compared with a standard treadmill, the walking pad is smaller, lighter, quieter, less expensive, and able to fit perfectly under a desk. Some walking pads come with a bar so you can hold onto it while walking, while others are completely hands-free allowing you to type while you stroll.

With that, McGrath shares the impressive benefits the under-desk treadmill has to offer and tips to keep your walking experience steady and safe.

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5 Benefits of Walking While You Work

Social media trends aside, the walking pad turns your average Monday into a mood-boosting, calorie-burning, stress-lowering walk in the park (or home office). Whether your goal is to move more, feel better, burn calories, loosen stiff muscles, or simply give this fitness tool a try, these benefits speak for themselves.

Here, McGrath shares the many benefits of using a walking pad regularly.

Promotes Physical Activity

A walking pad allows users to engage in light physical activity, such as walking, while performing sedentary tasks like working at a desk or watching TV. This promotes movement and helps break up prolonged periods of sitting, which is associated with various health risks, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and musculoskeletal issues.

Increases Daily Step Count

By walking on a treadmill desk, individuals can increase their daily step count without needing to set aside dedicated time for exercise. This is particularly beneficial for those with busy schedules who may struggle to find time to integrate cardio workouts. Walking pads enable users to accumulate steps gradually throughout the day, contributing to overall physical activity levels. More movement is always better than less.

Improves Energy and Focus

Light physical activity, such as walking, has been shown to improve energy levels and cognitive function. Using a walking pad while working or studying can help combat feelings of fatigue and lethargy, leading to increased productivity and mental clarity. The gentle movement promotes blood flow and oxygenation to the brain, enhancing alertness and focus.

Supports Weight Management

Incorporating walking into daily activities can aid in weight management and contribute to overall health and well-being. Walking helps regulate appetite and metabolism, making it a valuable tool for managing body weight.

Reduces Sedentary Behavior

Prolonged sitting has been linked to various adverse health outcomes, including increased risk of chronic diseases, pain, and premature mortality. Using a walking pad helps reduce sedentary behavior by providing an alternative to prolonged sitting. More movement allows individuals to mitigate the negative effects of sedentary lifestyle habits and improve overall health outcomes.

Tips When Using Your Walking PadNew Africa

Tips When Using Your Walking Pad

Although it may be tempting to jump on your new walking pad and start typing away, McGrath encourages utilizing these tips to ensure the best (and safest) experience.

Start Slowly

Begin by walking at a slow and comfortable pace, especially if you’re new to using a walking pad. Gradually increase your walking speed and duration as your fitness level improves and you become more accustomed to the motion.

Maintain Proper Posture

Stand tall with your shoulders relaxed, and engage your core muscles to support your spine while walking. Avoid leaning forward or slouching, as this can strain your neck, shoulders, and lower back over time.

Use the Safety Features

Familiarize yourself with the safety features of the walking pad, such as the emergency stop button or safety key. These features can quickly halt the treadmill in case of an emergency or if you need to stop abruptly.

Wear Comfortable Footwear

Choose comfortable footwear with good stability to minimize strain on your feet and joints while walking. Avoid wearing high heels or shoes with minimal support, as they can increase the risk of discomfort or injury.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water before, during, and after using the walking pad to stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle nearby and take regular breaks to rehydrate, especially if you’re walking for an extended period.

Use a Desk Setup Ergonomically

If you’re using the walking pad while working at a desk, ensure that your workstation is set up ergonomically to promote comfort and productivity. Position your computer monitor at eye level, use a supportive chair with proper lumbar support, and adjust your keyboard and mouse for optimal reach and alignment.

Multitask Mindfully

While using a walking pad, focus on the task at hand, whether it’s working, reading, or watching a video. Avoid distractions that could compromise your safety or detract from your productivity, such as texting, browsing social media, or engaging in activities that require intense concentration.

Monitor Your Progress

Keep track of your walking time, distance covered, and calories burned using the walking pad’s built-in display or a fitness tracker. Set smaller goals for yourself and gradually increase your walking intensity or duration over time to challenge yourself and improve your fitness level.

Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to how your body feels while walking on the pad. If you experience any pain, discomfort, or unusual symptoms, stop walking immediately and consult with a healthcare professional if necessary. Adjust your walking speed or duration as needed to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Some people with dysautonomia, motion sickness, or chronic fatigue should not use the walking pad if symptoms worsen.

Who Shouldn’t Use a Walking Pad?

McGrath explains there are groups of people who should exercise caution or avoid using a walking pad altogether. “It’s essential to prioritize safety and listen to your body’s signals while using any exercise equipment.”

  1. Individuals with Balance or Mobility Issues: People who have balance impairments or mobility limitations may not be suitable candidates for using a walking pad. The movement of the treadmill desk could pose a risk of falls or accidents, particularly for those with gait abnormalities or coordination difficulties.
  2. Pregnant Women: Pregnant women should consult with their healthcare provider before using a walking pad, especially during the later stages of pregnancy. While gentle walking may be safe for many pregnant women, excessive strain or fatigue should be avoided. Pregnant women should also consider factors such as balance changes and potential discomfort while walking.
  3. Those Recovering from Injury or Surgery: Individuals recovering from recent injuries or surgical procedures may need to avoid using a walking pad until they have fully healed and received clearance from their healthcare provider. The repetitive motion of walking could exacerbate existing injuries or impede the healing process.
  4. People with Cardiovascular Conditions: Individuals with certain cardiovascular conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or a history of stroke, should exercise caution when using a walking pad. The increased heart rate and blood pressure associated with physical activity may pose risks for these individuals, and they should seek guidance from a healthcare professional before starting a walking program.
  5. Those with Chronic Health Conditions: People with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, or respiratory disorders, should consult with their healthcare provider before using a walking pad. Certain conditions may require modifications to the intensity or duration of walking. These individuals should receive recommendations based on their medical history and current health status.
  6. Children: Children should be supervised when using a walking pad, and their use should be age-appropriate. Parents or caregivers should ensure that children use the equipment safely.
  7. Individuals with Severe Obesity: People with severe obesity may find walking on a walking pad uncomfortable or impractical due to weight-bearing limitations. These individuals may benefit from other forms of low-impact exercise or lifestyle modifications tailored to their needs and capabilities.

Remember: Walking Pads Shouldn’t Replace Your Fitness Routine

Although McGrath supports the idea of incorporating workday movement, she is still a big fan of designated workout time; a time to focus on getting in tune with the body. “A walking pad encourages disassociation from the body while mainly focusing on work while on an autopilot walk,” she shares, and believes true fitness results would require dedicated time to strength training and cardiovascular exercise making sure the aerobic zone is hit. Case in point, adding more movement into your daily life is a great goal, but the walking pad should not replace your regular strength training routine.


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