Treadmill Workstations Take Multi-tasking to a New Level

March 10, 2006 ( - A year ago, Dr. James Levine, a Mayo Clinic obesity researcher in Rochester, Minnesota, rigged his desk so he could stand and walk slowly on a treadmill while reading email, talking on the phone or working on his computer.

Ten other employees and the Mayo Foundation’s president now also use an enhanced version of the workstation, MarketWatch reports. Levine also created a track, which can be made with carpet tape, around the perimeter of the office so meetings can be held while walking instead of seated.

“The idea isn’t to force people to walk and work,” Levine told MarketWatch. “The idea is to give people choice because they’re never had it before.”

The idea will appeal to those who hate going to the gym or lack extra time in which to work out. Benefits of the treadmill workstation include weight loss of 30 to 40 pounds per year and back pain relief, according to Levine. In addition, the health benefits to employees could decrease employer health care costs.

Levine is working with companies to develop a product that can be mass-produced. He said the cost of a treadmill workstation is about $1,100, compared with a standard cubicle price of $2,000.